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Mississippi State raids #6 LSU for an upset

The Bulldogs and new coach Mike Leach spring the upset of the SEC’s opening weekend.

K.J. Costello of the Mississippi State Bulldogs looks to pass during a NCAA football game against the LSU Tigers at Tiger Stadium on September 26, 2020 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

We knew it would be tough for LSU Tigers to return to the heights of their 2019 national championship team, but not many people expected the Mississippi State Bulldogs to come into Death Valley and knock off the champs 44-34 on Saturday.

MSU was an 14.5-point underdog at kickoff, and pulled the upset behind Stanford transfer K.J. Costello running new coach Mike Leach’s vaunted Air Raid offense to perfection: Costello was 36/60 for 623 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions.

But even by Leach’s video game standards during his runs at Texas Tech and Washington State, this is incredible: MSU had 632 yards of offense, and nine (9!!) yards rushing. Whomever said that uncut Air Raid won’t work in the SEC will have to wait another week to be proven correct.

Three different Bulldogs receivers had 122 yards receiving or more. Kylin Hill led all pass catchers with eight receptions for 158 yards and a touchdown, but the yardage leader was Osirus Mitchell with seven catches for 183 yards and two scores. The raw numbers were enough to help the Bulldogs survive four turnovers on the road, while claiming only two themselves.

Myles Brennan spent two seasons backing up Joe Burrow on the Bayou, but in his first start he disappointed: 27-46 for 345 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. The Tigers managed just 38 carries for 80 yards on the ground, and the inability to run the ball took away much of what the most potent offense in college football last season could do in 2020.