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Monster game for Nabers helps LSU to blowout ahead of Arkansas game
LSU wide receiver Malik Nabers (8) catches a 26-yard touchdown pass reception over the defense of Mississippi State safety Hunter Washington (21) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023, in Starkville, Miss. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
STARKVILLE, Miss. — A lopsided loss to start the season had No. 14 LSU looking to re-establish itself as a championship contender out of the Southeastern Conference against Mississippi State.
The Tigers looked every bit the part Saturday.
Malik Nabers set career highs with 13 catches for 239 yards and scored two touchdowns, Jayden Daniels ran for two scores and set a school record for passing accuracy, and No. 14 LSU beat Mississippi State 41-14.
The Tigers (2-1) outgained the Bulldogs 310-79 in the first half on the way to a 24-7 lead.
LSU started the season with a three-touchdown loss against Florida State before getting a chance to work out some kinks against Grambling State in last week's win.
The Tigers' first SEC game made it two straight routs.
“Daniels and Nabers hooking up to the level that we’ve always wanted to see, we saw that (Saturday) and that’s certainly fun,” head coach Brian Kelly said. “If that continues to show itself, we’re a pretty good football team. Defensively, there were many questions. It’s just a matter of getting a lot of young players and new players together. It’s just a matter of time.”
Will Rogers had his worst game as a starting quarterback at Mississippi State (2-1) as the senior was 11 of 28 for 103 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions. It was the fewest completions and yardage Rogers has had as a starter.
“(It was) not very good, obviously,” Rogers said of the game. “It’s kind of back to the drawing board for us. We’ve got to stick together and get better. We can’t dwell on this too long, we’ve got a big game next week on the road.”
The Bulldogs, who are transitioning away from late coach Mike Leach's Air Raid offense in Year 1 under coach Zach Arnett, managed just 201 yards.
“It was as bad a defeat as you can have,” Arnett said. “Credit to Coach Kelly, his staff, their players. They came out better prepared. They played faster from the jump. And they dominated the football game. I’ve done a poor job in the evaluation of our football team. We have to decide how we want to respond to this.”
Daniels threw for 361 yards on 30 of 34 passing, the best completion percentage (88.2%) ever for an LSU quarterback in a game with at least 25 attempts. He also rushed 15 times for 64 yards before he came out midway through the fourth quarter with the lead at 41-7.
'There won’t be a better performance in the country and if there is, that would be amazing,” Kelly said. “He really worked hard the past week getting on top of his throws. It was great to see that come to fruition.”
LSU: The Tigers had four sacks, including the first of the season by preseason All-American Harold Perkins. LSU had just one sack in the first two games.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs looked uncompetitive a week after escaping with an overtime victory at home against Arizona.
LSU hosts Arkansas next Saturday.
Mississippi State travels to South Carolina next Saturday.
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