The campus and Tiger Walk were bare, the cardboard cutouts and 25,000 socially distanced fans were out to watch as LSU surrendered an historic 623 yards passing in a 44-34 losing effort to Mississippi State. It's the first time in 672 days the Tigers have lost a game.
Saturday's game one performance was a shock to the system as it was the first time since 2018 where LSU (0-1) actually trailed at halftime. It only became more jaw dropping as Mississippi State quarterback KJ Costello torched a young, depleted Tiger secondary. It was a forgettable outing for Bo Pelini and the LSU defense cornerbacks who were without one of the nation's best defenders.
The secondary found out Saturday morning it'd likely have to play without star sophomore cornerback Derek Stingley but the way LSU was gashed in the middle of the field by Costello and company, how much of an impact he would've had is fair to point out.
The sophomore became ill Friday night and needed medical care at the hospital, though he was released later. With the monumental adjustment, LSU turned to Cordale Flott, Darren Evans and Elias Ricks, all of whom struggled in the first half. Mike Leach and KJ Costello took advantage in a major way.
Costello passed for an SEC record 623 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions on the depleted LSU secondary. It was a wake up call game for many of the young LSU cornerbacks who all had moments of lapses throughout the course of the game.
Running back Kylin Hill went for 158 yards through the air while receiver Osirus Mitchell posted 183 yards and Javonta Payton added an additional 122 yards receiving.
It wasn't all bad defensively as the Tigers forced four turnovers, including two interceptions off Costello. With 11:41 to go in the final frame, Ricks made an acrobatic interception off Costello, turning into a Terrace Marshall touchdown two plays later.
Senior safety JaCoby Stevens completely flipped the momentum, strip sacking Costello on the very next play to set up LSU for the game-tying field goal. The quick turnaround wasn't enough in the end, as back-to-back drives ended in a field goal and touchdown for the Bulldogs, putting a pin in the Tigers comeback attempt.
The struggles from the LSU secondary put a ton of pressure on the LSU offense, pressure that Brennan and company were able to respond to on and off in the second half.
The offense clearly took some time to settle in as the Tigers put together one successful drive in a first half riddled with drops, sacks and miscues. Myles Brennan was forced out of the pocket consistently as his receivers struggled to get open.
Freshman tight end Arik Gilbert and his three catches for 32 yards were the highlight of the first half for an offense that mustered 146 yards of total offense. LSU sat starters Terrace Marshall, Racey McMath and Kayshon Boutte for the first drive of the second half after inconsistent play.
Brennan finished the day with 345 yards passing, three touchdowns and two interceptions, a critical interception in the third quarter where his hand was hit looking for McMath. That pick was followed by a fourth Costello touchdown start the final quarter saw LSU take a two score hit.
Marshall finished with eight receptions for 122 yards and two touchdowns while Chris Curry led the team in rushing with 47 yards on nine carries.
LSU will now prepare for a road outing with Vanderbilt next weekend.