Bulldogs’ comeback falls short against LSU

Published 12:07 am Sunday, September 13, 2015

STARKVILLE (AP) — Leonard Fournette ran for 159 yards and three touchdowns to lead No. 14 LSU over No. 25 Mississippi State 21-19 on Saturday night.

Fournette’s hard running was the highlight of a bruising Southeastern Conference opener for both teams. The 6-foot-1, 230-pound sophomore had several good moments, including an impressive 26-yard dash to give the Tigers a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.

LSU had a 21-6 lead early in the fourth quarter, but Mississippi State’s offense shook off an ugly first half to score two fourth-quarter touchdowns.

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The last featured six straight pass completions for Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott, capped by a 5-yard touchdown to De’Runnya Wilson to pull the Bulldogs within 21-19 with four minutes remaining, but the 2-point conversion to tie failed.

Prescott completed 34 of 52 passes for 335 yards and one touchdown, and got the Bulldogs into position for a long field goal try with 3 seconds remaining.

Mississippi State’s Devon Bell, a former Warren Central star, missed a 52-yard field goal with no time remaining that would have won the game.

LSU (1-0, 1-0 SEC) beat Mississippi State (1-1, 0-1) for the 15th time in 16 seasons.

There were some very tense final moments for LSU, which looked like it had the game in hand for much of the night.

LSU was playing its first game of the season after its original opener against McNeese State was canceled five minutes into the first quarter because of lightning.

That led to some concern that the Tigers might start out slowly, but those fears proved unfounded as they jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.

LSU didn’t do anything fancy while building its early lead, mostly just handing the ball to Fournette and then watching him run. Fournette’s second touchdown run — the 26-yarder — quieted the crowd of 62,531, which was the second largest in school history.

Mississippi State managed a 43-yard field goal near the end of the second quarter to pull within 14-3 by halftime. It was the highlight of an ugly first half that included just 109 total yards.

Prescott — who was so good in Mississippi State’s upset win over LSU in Baton Rouge last season — didn’t have much time to throw or run during the first half.

But things slowly opened up for the Bulldogs during the second half. Mississippi State put together a grinding 14-play, 87-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by Prescott early in the fourth quarter to pull the Bulldogs within 21-13.

Prescott completed 34 of 52 passes for 335 yards and one touchdown.