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Miss St. Survives LSU Scare

When Rod Gibson came to his senses, he was spread across the goal line and No. 12 Mississippi State was still undefeated.

Gibson insists he doesn't even remember the fourth-down carry with 1:39 left on which he powered in from a yard out to give the Bulldogs a 17-16 victory over LSU on Saturday night.

"All I know was I was in the end zone when I got up," Gibson said. "I can't take you through it because I don't remember it. I guess running it so much in practice, it was repetition."

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Game summary

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  • Still woozy from a hit he took on the previous play, a 5-yard screen pass on which he was stuffed inside the 1 by two LSU defenders, Gibson can't even recall hearing his number called.

    While Gibson may not completely remember scoring the game-winning touchdown, it capped a 14-play, 65-yard drive that snapped a seven-game losing streak to LSU.

    More importantly, the Bulldogs are 7-0 overall and 4-0 in the Southeastern Conference for the first time in school history and in first place alone in the SEC West after 10th-ranked Alabama's loss at Tennessee.

    After Gibson's touchdown, Josh Booty completed passes of 11 and 18 yards to Jerel Myers as LSU (2-5, 0-5) drove to the Mississippi State 46. The threat ended when his pass was intercepted by Pig Prather with a minute left.

    "Maybe I was trying to make something out of nothing," admitted Booty, after his only interception that was part of a 14-of-27 game for 165 yards. "We had a couple of big plays before. I guess I was trying to do that again."

    Mississippi State came from behind twice to stay undefeated.

    LSU, which had two punts blocked, returned the favor when Clarence LeBlanc got to Bulldogs punter Jeff Walker as he kicked out of his end zone. Safety Ryan Clark emerged from the bottom of pileup in the end zone with the ball and LSU led 16-11 with 11:24 left.

    Wayne Madkin, who was just 14-of-31 for 174 yards, was 3-of-4 on the winning drive, including a 20-yard pass to frshman Terrell Grindle on third-and-9, and the screen pass to Gibson.

    "It just shows if we can win playing like this, where we are at," Madkin said. "We made the plays when we had to."

    Mississippi State also benefited from a pass interference call against LSU and Justin Griffith's 2-yard carry that converted fourth-and-1 from the 10.

    The Bulldogs went ahead 11-10 when Griffith dove in from a yard out with 3:12 left in the third quarter to cap a 50-yard drive.

    The drive started when Madkin, whose previous two passes had been intercepted, rolled right and threw a pass to Kelvin Love, who dragged his feet along the sideline to make the catch before falling out of bounds at the LSU 26. Griffith scored three plays later.

    It was Mississippi State's second straight late victory. Two weeks ago, with Madkin sideline by a torn tendon in the finger of his throwing hand, backup quarterback Matt Wyatt led the Bulldogs to two touchdowns in the final three minutes of an 18-16 victory at Auburn.

    This time, his surgically repaired finger throbbing in pain, Madkin led the comeback.

    Eugene Clinton made amends for an earlier penalty with 6:06 left in the first half when he blocked an LSU punt out of the end zone for a safety.

    Less than two minutes earlier, Clinton had been penalized for interfering with LSU punt returner Domanick Davis. The penalty wiped out a Mississippi State fumble recovery at the LSU 5.

    After the blocked punt, Mississippi State had to settle for Scott Westerfield's 31-yard field goal.

    Mississippi State took over at the LSU 45 with 1:23 left after another blocked punt. But Madkin's pass into the end zone on the final play was tipped and intercepted by Bradie Jones.

    LSU scored on its first two possessions to take a 10-0 lead, both drives aided by personal foul penalties against the Bulldogs.

    Rondell Mealey, who carried 10 times for just 15 yards on the opening drive, had a 3-yard TD run to put LSU ahead 7-0. When he was stuffed for a 4-yard loss, a personal foul penalty provided a first down and moved the ball to the 14.

    LSU went ahead 10-0 on John Corbello's 36-yard field goal.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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