BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- Not even a thunderstorm could help
Mississippi State slow down JaMarcus Russell and the LSU offense.
Russell threw for a career-best 330 yards and matched a school
record with 14 consecutive completions Saturday as No. 9 LSU beat
the Bulldogs 48-17 in a game delayed when lightning sent spectators
scurrying for cover.
After the storm passed, the junior quarterback returned and
ended up completing 18 of 20 passes, including three for
The career day for Russell was by design. LSU coach Les Miles
said he and his staff favored a pass-heavy attack after scouting
Mississippi State's defense on film.
"We felt like we had advantages down the field throwing,"
Miles said. "If the defense gives us opportunities in the air,
we're certainly going to take them. ... [Russell] is a pretty
LSU (4-1, 1-1 SEC) led 35-0 early in the second quarter,
prompting thousands of fans to leave at halftime. A 52-minute delay
while a thunderstorm rolled through further emptied the stands in
the third quarter, when the score was 35-3.
Mississippi State (1-4, 0-3) gained 24 yards and managed one
first down on its first five possessions. The Bulldogs only gained
14 yards on the ground the whole game.
LSU's first five series ended with touchdowns.
"We had a lot of errors on the coverage ... guys just not being
in the right place and there was hesitation," Mississippi State
coach Sylvester Croom said. "The only thing you can attribute that
to is a lack of confidence. We didn't play with any confidence at
all and we were not aggressive in the first quarter."
Russell's three touchdown passes gave him 34 in his career,
tying with for fourth all-time at LSU with Jamie Howard.
Two early scores were set up by long passes over the middle from
Russell to Dwayne Bowe. The first went between three defenders for
25 yards, setting up a short touchdown toss to Craig Davis. Bowe's
41-yard reception to the Bulldogs 6 led to Charles Scott's TD run
for a 14-0 lead.
"The offense feeds off of passing plays and going out there and
stuffing it down their throat early," said Bowe, who finished with
95 yards receiving. "Pretty much like we started off today."
On his third series, Russell found Early Doucet on a 37-yard
"You could tell for the most part all our cylinders were just
kicking it on. We were trying to get it from every way possible,"
The 6-foot-6, nearly 260-pound quarterback wasn't finished.
Shedding tacklers as the pocket collapsed, Russell rolled out and
threw a 55-yard pass that tight end Richard Dickson caught over his
shoulder as he was tackled at the Bulldogs 2.
There was a little luck involved in that one. Russell admitted
after the game that the pass was intended for Davis, who was
converging with Dickson from across the field.
Still, the play made Russell 7-of-8 for 202 yards and two
touchdowns through the first quarter. Four seconds into the second
period, Scott muscled his way in from the 1 for his second TD.
Russell hit Bowe in the back of the end zone for a 6-yard
touchdown before Mississippi State finally sustained a drive into
scoring position. Blake McAdams' 32-yard field goal made it 35-3
late in the first half.
"It was devastating. I couldn't enjoy the game like I wanted
to," Mississippi State defensive back Derek Pegues said. "We were
down so many points that I think we were aggravated and couldn't
The Bulldogs' first touchdown came late in the third quarter on
Pegues' 23-yard interception return after Matt Flynn had replaced
With the score 35-10, Miles went back to Russell, who led
another scoring drive that ended with Jacob Hester's 5-yard
Miles said he still has confidence in Flynn but pulled him after
the interception to send a message.
"Our guys that take snaps or defend passes have to be held to
the level of LSU," Miles said. "Certainly, we wanted Matt to play
and we have confidence in him, but we had to make sure everybody
knew that's not acceptable."
Mississippi State scored again on a 46-yard pass from Omarr
Conner to Tony Burks in the fourth quarter. Conner was 15-of-28 for
212 yards and was sacked three times.
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