STARKVILLE — Dan Mullen said Sunday he didn’t see a lot of missed assignments in the secondary after he watched the film of the Mississippi State football team’s 59-26 loss to LSU on Saturday.
Mullen credits the Tigers’ excellence for quarterback Zach Mettenberger’s 82.6-percent completion percentage and 340 passing yards.
Odell Beckham Jr. had nine catches for 179 yards and two touchdowns, while Jarvis Landry caught eight passes for 96 yards.
“I give them credit. They made a lot of plays,” Mullen said Sunday during his media teleconference. “They were multiple times in the game when you watch their DBs leap, jump, and just tip the ball away from our receivers. That didn’t happen on the other side. We didn’t jump and tip it away from them.”
MSU came into the weekend second in the Southeastern Conference in total defense and third in passing defense after games against Alcorn State, Auburn, and Troy. MSU had success in those games with blitz schemes, but the Bulldogs weren’t able to get enough pressure against offensive coordinator Cam Cameron’s group. LSU typically kept a blocker at the line of scrimmage to deal with the extra blitz defender and relied on Beckham Jr. and Landry to make plays against an inexperienced secondary.
“They came out passing and kind of caught us off guard,” MSU freshman defensive tackle Chris Jones said. “That really surprised us because that not what they do. We spent all week trying to stop the run in practice.”
The 59 points is the most scored in the rivalry since 1969, when the Tigers won 61-6 in Baton Rouge, La.
“We were in position going into the fourth quarter to win the game,” Mullen said. “I started seeing guys push a little bit, trying to go make the play instead of doing your job and making a play. There’s a lot to be learned from that.”
n Mullen didn’t know how the injuries his team suffered Saturday would affect it moving forward. He is scheduled to meet with the team trainers at 3 p.m. today.
MSU lost offensive tackle Blaine Clausell and offensive guard Ben Beckwith in the fourth quarter. Cornerback Jamerson Love also left the game in the fourth quarter with a foot injury. After MSU trainers examined Love, he left the field on crutches. MSU already is without junior safety Jay Hughes, who suffered a season-ending Achilles’ injury in the opener against then-No. 13 Oklahoma State.
Follow Matt Stevens on Twitter @matthewcstevens.