BATON ROUGE – Christian LaCouture and Quentin Thomas lay on the field writhing in pain.

LSU trainers rushed to the sides of the Tigers’ defensive tackles as a sparse crowd remaining in Tigers Stadium rumbled with concern.

They ought to be.

Mississippi State’s 34-29 win over LSU on Saturday night exposed what appears to be a crippling weakness for coach Les Miles’ bunch: a soft spot up the middle.

So having your two starters at tackle collapse on one play was a mouth-gaping moment for many. Thomas, playing with a torn biceps in his right arm, injured his left arm, and his status is unclear. LaCouture “should be fine,” Miles said after the game.

Still, there’s concern for the depth, experience and capability of the center of the Tigers’ defense.

The Bulldogs ran for 310 yards between the tackles against LSU, according to ESPN stats. They ripped off runs of 56 and 66 yards on running plays up the gut, and many of State quarterback Dak Prescott’s 105 yards rushing came at the heart of LSU’s defense.

“We just need to focus on some things,” LaCouture said after the loss, just the eighth home loss in 10 years for the Tigers. “We had a couple of miscues. There were just a couple of things they gassed us on tonight.”

LSU (3-1, 0-1 Southeastern Conference) tumbled nine spots to No. 17 in The Associated Press poll Sunday, the biggest fall in 10 years in those rankings. Meanwhile, players were expected to watch a gruesome replay of the game Sunday.

“We need to look at the film and see how to improve on that,” LaCouture said.

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