Posted: 12:00 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013
Quick: name the last time that Mississippi State beat LSU.
Can you do it? Can you name it off the top of your head? No worries if you can't, I'll give you a hint:
That's right: the last time MSU took on the Bayou Bengals and emerged victorious was in the last millennium: a 17-16 win in 1999. The Tigers' win streak in the SEC West rivalry reached 13 last season with a win in Baton Rouge, so it's safe to say that many of us in maroon and white have long forgotten what a win over LSU feels like. But the thing is, it hasn't always been like that.
The 1980s, like most decades for MSU football, featured mixed results. However, State's results versus LSU from 1980 to 1984 weren't mixed at all. That string of five seasons was and still remains as the longest winning streak for MSU in the series history. And in the 1980 game, boy did MSU kick off that winning streak in explosive fashion.
The 1980 season was the second year for the maroon and white with Emory Bellard at the helm. The season started off fairly strong, as MSU jumped out to a 4-1 start behind the play of John Bond, Glen Young, and others. After an embarssing homecoming loss to Southern Miss, one that Bellard himself described as "a sorry exhibition of football execution", the dogs faced a murders row of opponents, featuring a ranked Miami (Fl), Auburn, #1 Alabama, LSU, and rival Ole Miss. However, despite the way they finished in the previous season -- losing five in a row in a similar schedule setup -- the Bulldogs finished the season strong for Bellard, winning all five games, including a win over Miami, the greatest win in MSU history in a win over #1 Alabama, and an absolute romping off LSU, 55-31.
Although I can't claim to have been around or even alive during that season, I've heard my father and grandfather talk about the points that MSU put on LSU that day. The 1981 Reveille recalls that game a little like this:
...After jumping out to an early 14 point lead, the Bulldog defense bent, allowing LSU to knot it at 24 just before halftime. But Glen Young returned the second half kickoff 100 yards and MSU never looked back."
After the momentum shifted back in LSU's favor, Glen Young took matters into his own hands returning that second half-opening kickoff the full length of the field, and State would never look back.
MSU wouldn't look back for awhile either in this series, as the Bulldogs added a 17-9 win in 1981, a 27-26 win over #6 LSU in 1982, a 45-26 win in 1983, and a 16-14 win over #9 LSU in 1984. The best part about that streak is that MSU didn't even have a winning record every year through that stretch; State would only have two in that five year time frame. Why is that the best part? Because it shows that it can happen. State can win in this series. Sure, it hasn't happened in nearly a decade and a half, but if State can finally break through -- if they can finally blast down all the frustration and the heartache and did I mention the frustration and the heartache -- then maybe they can get back on the winning path against the boys from Baton Rouge.