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LSU 37, Mississippi State 17: Thanks for Playing, Bulldogs

It's now pretty clear that Mississippi State's 7-0 start wasn't much more than scheduling. But LSU still has an outside chance at something more meaningful

Chris Graythen

Remember when Mississippi State was 7-0 and had that #webelieve hashtag that talked about how they were going to go 8-0? The opponent that week was Alabama, and what happened was most assuredly not Mississippi State going 8-0. It was more like a 31-point loss, which is a very different thing.

Of course, there was still the game against Texas A&M for what looked to be (at that time) third place in the SEC West, and State lost 38-13. But there was still a chance to shock the world and upset LSU, before the Western Division Bulldogs were run out of Baton Rouge in a 37-17 loss.

If it wasn't fair before, it's certainly fair now to ask if that undefeated start through nearly two months of football was anything more than a mirage. On the stat sheet, Mississippi State didn't do all that badly, with LSU gaining just one more first down and 41 more yards. But on the scoreboard, it was a beatdown. LSU scored 17 unanswered points in the last 24 minutes to turn what had been a 20-17 contest into a 37-17 laugher.

It was no laughing matter for LSU, which kept its faint SEC West hopes alive and saw what looked to be continuing growth from Zach Mettenberger, who went 19-of-30 for 273 yards and two touchdowns. And while Mettenberger isn't going to lead LSU quite as far as the Tigers had hoped this year, he's still got a chance to be part of a huge season for LSU in 2013.

Mississippi State still has two more chances for a win, playing Arkansas next week and the Egg Bowl in Oxford the week after that. And 9-3 is a nice enough record -- even if you have to recognize that it has as much to do with the schedule as anything else.