With two straight road games against ranked teams looming, Nick Saban hopes LSU can shake off its first loss when it hosts Mississippi State on Saturday.
The 13th-ranked Tigers (2-1, 0-1 Southeastern Conference) had a 10-game winning streak snapped Saturday with a 10-9 loss to No. 9 Auburn.
It’s a game Saban hopes his team will learn from. The Tigers are home to face conference foe Mississippi State (1-2, 0-1) before hitting the road for two straight games—at No. 3 Georgia and at No. 16 Florida.
The loss dropped the Tigers from No. 5 in this week’s poll, and left them behind early in the SEC West race.
“For young guys, this game is a great opportunity for us to teach them and show them that if you do it right this is what happens, and if you don’t do it right this is what happens,” Saban said. “And it takes all 11 guys doing it right to get it to work the way it needs to work on a consistent basis.”
LSU allowed Auburn’s only touchdown with 1:14 remaining. Saban said missed opportunities, mental lapses, breakdowns and a failure to execute early in the contest allowed the game to come down to the final minutes—and hopes pointing out those things will benefit a young team.
“I also think that we’ve got to focus a little better,” Saban said. “We’ve got to have a little better preparation so that we can eliminate some of those errors and understand the consequences of not doing it right and how it affects the team.”
The Tigers’ offense, with JaMarcus Russell and Marcus Randall rotating at quarterback, struggled for the second time in three games. LSU was held to only seven points through nearly 59 minutes of its opener before scoring with 1:05 left in regulation and once in overtime to beat Oregon State 22-21.
Mississippi State allowed two scores in the final minutes in a 9-7 loss to Division I-AA Maine on Saturday.
The Bulldogs committed three turnovers deep in Maine territory and lost for the second time in three games under new coach Sylvester Croom.
“Our team is extremely disappointed and they should be,” Croom said. “Now we will really find out what kind of team we’ve got. In our locker room, we will find out if we will point fingers at each other or if we will stay together as a football team and be the best football team that we can possibly be.”
Omarr Connor passed for 250 yards, including a 19-yard first-quarter scoring pass to Eric Butler for the Bulldogs. Fred Reid ran for 72 yards on 18 carries and Will Prosser had four catches for 117 yards.
Maine is ranked 15th in NCAA Division I-AA, and the Black Bears were Mississippi State’s first I-AA opponent since the Bulldogs beat Jacksonville State two years ago.
LSU leads the all-time series 61-33-3, and has won nine of the last 10 meetings.