Hobbs Column: Miss State has been a hospitable host for LSU

By By Scooter Hobbs / American Press

Just to clarify, regarding the theory you heard here after LSU’s loss to Georgia, the one where nothing really changed on

the Tigers’ season.

It is true that the Tigers’ season will still come down to who wins the LSU-Alabama game.

It is not true that this is the only game the Tigers could lose. In fact, they could render the Alabama game on Nov. 9 next

to meaningless by losing a game or two between now and then.

You can never be too careful, especially in the SEC, especially on the road.

But that was true before LSU lost to Georgia and it would be true even if the Tigers had beaten the Bulldogs.

You with me so far?

Either way, however, LSU still had to avoid a misstep along the way to Tuscaloosa.

It could happen.

This week, for instance, against Mississippi State, looks like a classic trap game.

Who’s to say LSU doesn’t still have a Georgia hangover?

After last week, who’s to say LSU can hold anybody under 35-40 points?

And the Bulldogs, the Mississippi State

breed, have two quarterbacks, one (Dak Prescott) shifty like the Auburn

guy that pestered

LSU and the other a pro-style one (Tyler Russell) who might do an

Aaron Murray imitation.

Mississippi State doesn’t have a lot of dazzle, but the Bulldogs have a solid defensive front seven, and the Tigers’ impressive

offense might be due an off night and it’s always tough to go on the road two straight weeks and Mississippi State had an

open date and two weeks to get ready for the Tigers and for that matter … Oh — stop it, just STOP it — who are we kidding

here?

LSU isn’t going to lose to Mississippi State Saturday night. Not even in Starkville.

The Tigers have tried. Gosh they have tried. Evidently it can’t be done.

LSU has beaten Mississippi State 70 times, which is more than it has beaten any other school on the planet, including Tulane.

So its been going on a long time, dating to 1896 (52-0), back when Starkville was

little more than a … well, it was probably pretty much as you find it

today (stark and barren and mostly boring), although

the trailer park hadn’t yet been perfected then, a later cultural

breakthrough which no doubt came along and spruced up the

joint immeasurably, along with that stoplight they’re so proud of.

More recently — now that Starkville can show off the new fertilizer dealership — it’s been even worse.

Even Curley Hallman had trouble losing to Mississippi State. He did manage to drop his first one in 1991, but won the last

three, which didn’t exactly bolster his case when the LSU firing squad showed up.

LSU fans had grown weary of being duped into thinking Curley had turned the corner with a victory over State. It had become

an annual mirage, usually right before the Auburn game sobered everybody up.

But you know about the current streak.

LSU has won 13 straight against the Bulldogs and 20 of the last 21.

That’s not a streak. It’s a generation.

LSU did its level best to lose several of these last 13, but never could pull it off, even while sleepwalking, even after

giving the Bulldogs first-and-goal in the final minute in 2009.

And, LSU having not lost this millennium, is a tad misleading.

Not to dig it up again, but State’s 17-16 victory in 1999 couldn’t have happened in today’s more enlightened society.

The Bulldogs scored, so to speak, the

“winning” touchdown in the final minute on a fourth-and-goal run that

was unique in

that the “scoring” ballcarrier was knocked down just inside the

1-yard line, well short of the goal, and he made it into the

end zone only on first bounce.

None of the officials had a square look at it, apparently, and there was some confusion and a bit of a delay until, finally,

two hesitant arms were raised to signal the phantom touchdown.

It was that night, I’d guess, that the

SEC starting thinking seriously about using instant replay to put an end

to such unexplained

foolishness.

Even with those extenuating circumstances, it was a considered a firing offense and head coach Gerry DiNardo was properly

dismissed, of course, at the end of the season.

It’s worse than that.

Since 2001, LSU has exactly four

shutouts in the SEC games — and three of them have come against

Mississippi State, by a combined

138-0, most recently 45-0 in 2007. The only other SEC shutout in

that time frame was against Kentucky.

Even with all the nonconference riffraff the Tigers have brought to Baton Rouge, they’ve managed only five other shutouts

in that period. So one-third of LSU’s shutouts have come against the Bulldogs.

To the Tigers, that annoying cowbell clanging sounds as soothing as the Boston Pops.

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Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at shobbs@americanpress.com