After an emotional loss last week to previously unbeaten Alabama, LSU (8-2, 4-2) was able to put that game behind them and kept their SEC West championship hopes alive with a 37-17 victory over a talented Mississippi State (7-3, 3-3) team. LSU and quarterback Zach Mettenberger were able to build on their offensive success from the previous week, specifically in the passing game, and proved for the second straight week that LSU can move the ball through the air.
Mettenberger passed for 273 yards Saturday night, completing 19 of 30 pass attempts. But, most importantly for Mettenberger, he made good decisions with the football and didn’t turn the ball over.
Jarvis Landry led the way for the receiving corps again this week as he set career highs in receptions with 9, and in yards with 109. Over the last two weeks, Landry and Mettenberger have begun to develop a rapport together which has seen Landry haul in 17 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns in that period of time.
Mississippi State took the first lead in the game when backup quarterback and Louisiana native Dak Prescott, finished off a 10-play, 74-yard drive with a nine-yard touchdown pass to tight end Marcus Green.
However, LSU was able to answer back on the ensuing possession when Drew Alleman drilled a 28-yard field goal, the first of his three made field goals on the night. Alleman struggled the week before against Alabama missing two field goals in that contest. Alleman also connected on field goal attempts of 26 and 41-yards in the game.
After the second of Alleman’s three field goal makes, Mississippi State running back Derrick Milton fumbled his only carry of the game giving LSU the ball at the Mississippi State 21-yard line. LSU was able to capitalize on the costly turnover three plays later when Mettenberger found Landry for a 19-yard touchdown pass.
After a Mississippi State field goal and kickoff, LSU took the ball over at their own 29-yard line with 48 seconds left in the first half. The assumption was that Les Miles and the coaching staff would just take a couple of knee’s and let the clock run out in the half, content with a 13-10 lead at the break. However, with the new confidence in the passing game, Miles decided to let Zach Mettenberger work his own two-minute drill. Mettenberger would lead the Tigers down the field in four plays. Completing passes of 15 and 36 yards and finishing it off with a beautiful 20-yard pass to running back Spencer Ware who made a diving grab in the end zone.
Mettenberger led a two-minute drive the same way that Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron had led the game -winning drive the week before. Mettenberger was poised, accurate and deliberate on his throws. A sure sign of his maturation and progression throughout the season as he continues to improve as a first-year starting quarterback.
As Mettenberger continues to progress so does this LSU team and becomes a formidable opponent down the stretch of the season and into the bowl games.
LSU plays host to Ole Miss on Senior day next Saturday at 2:30. Their final home game of the season.