The first real game is tonight, as Missisippi State hosts the #2 ranked LSU Tigers. LSU looks to compete for a national title in 2007, while Sylvester Croom’s 10-year plan to get to a bowl game should be right on schedule. Better than the game’s matchup (which should be a blowout), or even the return of all that football means, will the the potential comedic value of watching the coaches; Every Day Should Be Saturday will never let me look at the SEC in the same way.
I’m just glad to see some football, some real football, for the first time in months.
8:06 pm: The football season begins, well, predictably. The Bulldogs have the ball for exactly 26 seconds before punting on a 3-and-out.
8:07 pm: For the love of God, my eyes! Don’t show me Miss Mississippi and then put James Carville into my face. So much pretty, then a man ugly enough to make the banjo player from “deliverance” a ladies’ man. Make it stop, ESPN.
8:10 pm, 11:30 left in the first quarter. After a quick scramble by QB Matt Flynn, the Tigers get a first down with a fullback run up the middle on 3rd and short.
8:12 pm, 10:42 left. Just as Early Doucet makes a nice catch on the sideline, we see the first true sign of football: “DEAD BALL, FALSE START, ON THE OFFENSE. FIVE YARD PENALTY, REPEAT THE DOWN.” I have no idea why that makes me giddy.
Announcer watch: Craig James likes to push it, push it real good!
8:14 pm, 10:19 left. The Bulldogs break up the deep pass on third and long, and the Tigers…wait, they’re punting? from the 34 yard line? boooooooooo… The first chicken play of the season, and it certainly won’t be the last.
8:15 pm: ESPN, don’t be showing me a soccer ad on the first day of college football! I am DEFINITELY not in the mood.
8:17, 9:23 left in the 1st. Miss. State completes two short passes, but get no yardage after the catch. They face a third and long.
8:18, 8:43 left in the 1st. INTERCEPTION! Michael Henig throws a deep pass under pressure, and the floater gets picked off by LSU safety Danny McCray.
8:22, 7:45 left in the first. After Jacob Hester gets into field goal range, Kieland Williams makes a huge run to the MSU 12 yard line. The run offense is really clicking right now for the Tigers…
8:24, 6:40, left. …and that’s a good thing, because Matt Flynn hasn’t been passing the ball very well.
8:25, 6:28 left. Hester can’t handle the pass overhead on third down, and LSU has to settle for a short field goal. LSU leads, 3-0.
8:30, 5:30 left. Holy crap, stop the presses! Mississippi State has first down!
A really good catch and run by Arnil Stallworth from the backfield.
8:33, 4:30 left. Anthony Dixon runs to the left side, giving the Bulldogs another first down.
8:35, 2:42 left. Dixon tries to stiff arm his way to the first down on third and two, but the LSU defense chases him down at the line of scrimmage.
It looks like the Bulldogs are going to go for it on 4th and 2! YES!
8:37, 2:35 left: Well, that was anticlimactic. Hegin fumbles the snap, falls on the ball, and the Bulldogs turn over on downs. Still better than a punt, though.
Heat, humidity, and now we have heavy rain…yup, this is football weather!
8:38, 1:46 left. Not to question Matt Flynn (who can run the ball well) or Les Miles, but heavy rain is the worst situation under which to run the option.
8:40, 1:09 left. Let’s just get this out of the way, bulldogs fans:
“Lemme put it this way. I have a fever… and the only prescription…is more cowbell!”
8:44. The first quarter ends, and unbelievably, Missisippi State is still in the gains. LSU leads, but only by a score of 3-0.
8:47, 14:45 left, 2nd quarter. The Bulldogs defense is stepping up. After forcing Matt Flynn to throw the ball away, he’s tackled for a loss on third down. Once again, Les Miles punts inside the MSU 40, proving that he is an absolute chicken.
8:51, 12:27 left. We get the first big hit of the game, courtesy of defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey. He really made the Bulldogs pay for the shovel screen pass on third down. MSU will have to punt again.
8:58, 10:15 left. After getting sacked to force 3rd and 19, Matt Flynn makes a huge run up the middle, but he has to slide just short of the first down.
9:02, 9:20 left. Once again, LSU decides to punt on fourth down with good field position (this time on 4th and 1). Is Hayley Lafontaine telling Les Miles what to do?
9:04, 8:15 left. Neither QB is playing very well tonight. Hegin just threw his second interception of the game. This time, Anthony Zenon is the beneficiary of an underthrown fade route.
9:07, 7:32 left. Flynn buys some time in the pocket, and makes a big completion, and Early Doucet takes the catch inside the 30 yard line. Maybe now the Tigers will finally open the game up.
9:09: Mississippi State bulldog mascot + 5 year old girl in Bulldogs cheerleader costume = cute overload. I’m pretty sure that was what ESPN was going for.
Jacob Hester breaks a few tackles, and he makes a huge run inside the 10 yard line. Can LSU finally get a touchdown?
9:13: After two good run stops, the Bulldogs appear to have forced another field goal after Jasper O’Quinn breaks up a pass in the endzone…but he’s called for a pass interference. It’s a good call; he wasn’t even looking at the ball.
9:14, 5;52 left: TOUCHDOWN! Keiland Williams makes the Bulldogs pay for that penalty, busting his way in the endzone for the touchdown. LSU leads, 10-0, as halftime approaches.
9:17, 5:42 left. The Bulldogs gets a nice kickoff return, taking it to the 40 yard line. Inexplicably, Chris Fowler credits the run to the new 30-yard line kickoff rule.
9:20, 4:35 left. Henig finally makes a great pass, firing a bullet to a slanting Jason Husband at midfield for a big first down. Not only that, but LSU is called for a facemask penalty.
9:21, 4:10 left. No sooner does Henig make a good play than he makes a very, very bad one. He goes for the touchdown on a deep pass in the endzone, but the ball hangs in the air too much, and Craig Steltz gets LSU’s third interception of the night. Not good for the Bulldogs.
9:25, 1:58 left. After a holding call that sends the Tigers back to the 10, the MSU defense pins them way back, forcing a punt inside the five.
9:27, 1:29 left. no sooner do the Bulldogs get the ball back than Henig throws another pass directly into the arms of an LSU defensive backs. Four interceptions in the first half…it’s a video game, except that LSU hasn’t put the game away yet.
9:29, :41 left. Craig James, you are a silly, silly man. You think that LSU need to protect their 10 point lead and prevent the Bulldogs from scoring. Jesus could be in the backfield for Mississippi State, and they still wouldn’t score the way they’re playing right now. Why isn’t Anthony Dixon being handed the ball…at all?
9:33, :03 left. LSU is on the three yard line, with 12 seconds left…and they run the ball. Keiland Williams is stopped just short, and LSU is forced to take a timeout with 3 seconds left.
9:35, :00 left. Williams gets the ball again, and he scores easily. LSU goes into halftime leading 17-0. Mississippi State has played tough so far, but Michael Henig’s 4 interceptions have absolutely killed the bulldogs. In fact, I’m shocked that LSU isn;t up by more with the mistakes they made. The Tigers shouldn’t have much trouble putting it away in the second half (assuming that someone doesn’t hack into Henig’s brain in the Bulldogs locker room and turn him into the white Vince Young).
I kind of enjoyed Sly Croom’s halftime interview with Erin Andrews. He talked fast enough to be an auctioneer in Starkville.
10:00 pm: The second half has begun, and LSU starts with the ball.
14:00 left, 3rd quarter. Flynn is passing well to start the second half, making some good intermediate throws to Early Doucet. LSU is already in MSU territory.
10:03, 13:00 left in the third quarter. YES! We get a big decleater. What a block by Brandon Lafell lays the lumber to safety Zach Smith. I got pumped up just watching that.
12:52 left in the third quarter: TOUCHDWON LSU! Flynn connects with Doucet again, who’s wide open in the endzone. LSU now leads 24-0 and has pretty much put this game away.
10:07: With some pouring rain and MSU holding a big deficit, we’re starting to see quite a few empty seats in Scott Field.
Right now, the Bulldogs need to start working on the running game.
10:10, 11:25 left. A three and out may actually be an improvement for WHAT A PASS BY HENIG! He fires a bullet 40 yards up the field, and Tony Burks makes a great catch before being dragged down at the LSU 34. finally, the Bulldogs catch a break.
10:14, 9:12 left. Just as quickly, MSU loses six yards and gets a quick 3-and out. This is actually an improvement for them after the turnovers in the first half. The ensuing pooch punt works beautifully, and LSU will be pinned at their own 1 yard line.
10:17: Oh yeah, when I think of Starkville, Mississippi, I think of sushi! What’s next, Nick Saban leaving the NFL for…oh.
10:20, 7:19 left. MSU forces a three-and out inside the five, and the Tigers are forced to punt. Despite a great punt, the Bulldogs will have good field position.
10:23, 5:40 left. Henig takes a big hit, ad he may have hurt his knee. Nothing is going Sly Croom’s way tonight.
10:28, 3:57 left. How have to give the Mississippi State defense credit: they’re playing just as well as ever. They force another LSU 3-and-out, including a net loss of 10 yards. The Bulldogs might still be in this game if not for the turnovers.
10:31, 2:12 left. Henig throws his fifth interception, killing any momentum from the defensive stop. Steltz runs the INT back inside the 10, and LSU gets a quick touchdown pass to go up 31-0. Bulldog fans are now leaving the stadium in exodus.
10:37, 1:50 left. You know a game is getting out of hand when Doug Flutie is hitting on a defensive lineman.
10:43, The third quarter is over, and LSU leads 31-0. To add injury to insult, Michael Henig is pretty banged up. I think it’s time for both teams to call off the dogs before this game gets really out of hand.
10:54, 10:43 left in the fourth quarter. LSU has dominated this game, despite gaining less than 300 yards on offense. Can they really compete with the best if their opponents don’t make mistakes?
Finally, Matt Flynn leaves the game and Ryan Perriloux comes in to quarterback LSU. It looks like Henig’s out of the game, too.
11:00 pm, 8:20 left. Touchdown, LSU. Okay, this is just getting ridiculous. 38-0, Tigers.
11:07, 6:13 left. Wesley Carroll comes into the game at QB for the Bulldogs. After getting a first down, he fumbles a snap and turns the ball over. Again.
11:10, 5:45 left. 45-0, LSU. Les Miles is definitely running up the score. It’s the fourth quarter, less than 6 minutes left, and you’re up 38-0. Why are you passing in the red zone? It’s just not fair.
11:15, 4:08 left. Mississippi State could be in for a long season. People might think that Croom isn’t succeeding because he’s not a good recruiter, because his offense can’t score, or because the program was a mess when he arrived. But Jackie Sherill talking to the announcing crew reminded me: maybe it’s been the lack of genital-based motivation.
11:25: This game mercifully comes to an end. LSU wins 45-0. The Tigers looked good in this game, but mostly because the MSU Bulldogs made so many mistakes on offense. So other than the final score, I doubt that we learned very much from this game. We won’t know how good LSU is until they face stiffer competition. Still, I’m very, very glad that college football is finally back.