September 15, 2011

MSU offense stifled against LSU

Coming into Thursday night, MSU had the No. 1 rushing offense in the Southeastern Conference. By the end of the day Saturday, that ranking will drop quickly. The Bulldogs managed only 52 yards rushing against an LSU defense that held Northwestern State to -4 yards on the ground last weekend.

Vick Ballard, the nation's third-leading running back in yardage entering the game, was held to 38 yards and zero touchdowns. Thursday was only the second time MSU has failed to rush for at least 100 yards under Dan Mullen.

The Bulldog offense struggled through the air, as well, completing 15 of 25 passes for 141 yards and two interceptions. Senior quarterback Chris Relf was 11-17 for 96 yards and sophomore Tyler Russell, who led the final three series, was 4 of 8 for 45 yards.

"We didn't get into a rhythm," Mullen said. "We played with a lot of young offensive linemen with all the injuries we've been having. We got behind and had to throw the ball and play their game. Our playmakers have to make plays. We will be alright. Our guys always bounce back. We were right here this time last year."

LSU safety Eric Reid said the MSU attack was exactly what his team expected.

"We knew they had a power running offense," he said. "We knew they wanted to come out and pound the ball and grind it out and wear us down. We were ready for anything, but really we knew they wanted to just come out and shove it down our throats."

Russell did not see a snap against Auburn last week, but was thrown in late in the fourth quarter against LSU as MSU was down and the offense had struggled under Relf.

"[I wanted] to give it a change up," Mullen said. "We tried to run our offense, because at that point we are down two scores and you have to get the first score first. We wanted to give him a chance and try and give our offense a spark."

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