LSU vs. Miss. State 9:15 ESPN
Notes: LSU Tigers have won 7 straight in Mississippi State with the last two victories coming by an average margin of victory of 23 points per game. Mississippi State’s victory in Death Valley snapped a 14 game winning streak by the Tigers with the last loss coming in Starkville in 1999 17-16.
LSU’s game with McNeese State was cancelled due to inclement weather. However, the Tigers will look to run the football against Mississippi State. In last year’s loss at home, LSU had 89 yards rushing against the Bulldogs defensive front seven and averaged only 2.5 yards per carry in the 34-29 home loss. LSU had 341 total offensive yards but trailed much of the game and had to play catch up in the fourth quarter. In 2014, LSU averaged 225 rushing yards per game and will look to run the football behind a solid offensive line. If the running game can have success early, quarterback Brandon Harris can utilize play action to stretch the field against the Bulldogs. The Tigers completed 50% of their passes in 2014 and will need a better effort in Starkville to pull out the victory. Les Miles and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron will look to running back Leonard Fournette to carry the rock often against Mississippi State. Fournette rushed for 1,034 yards and averaged 5.5 yards per carry. As a unit, LSU averaged over 4.5 yards per carry last year and the Tigers offense has a run first mentality.
Defensively, LSU struggled with the versatility of Bulldogs quarterback Dak Prescott. LSU allowed 302 rushing yards along with 6.2 yards per carry to the Bulldogs in last year’s loss with Prescott rushing for 105 yards and one touchdown. LSU’s defensive front was manhandled by the Bulldogs physical offensive line and will need to step up on the road next week to get the victory. In 2014, LSU was +3 in turnover margin and allowed 153 yards rushing per game. That was the highest total since prior to 2008 by the Tigers and must get better in 2015 for LSU to make a run at the SEC West title.
Mississippi State rushed for 205 yards in last week’s 34-16 road victory against Southern Mississippi. Quarterback Dak Prescott rushed for 72 yards and one touchdown and will look to step up at home in Starkville this weekend with LSU coming to town. The Bulldogs will look to pound the football with Prescott on Saturday and see of the Bulldogs offensive line can dictate the tempo. Mississippi State averaged 514 total yards per game last year, the team’s highest total since prior to 2008. Since 2011, the team’s offensive output has risen each season by 25 total yards from 2011-2012, by 52 yards from 2012-2013 and by 80 yards from 2013-2014. In Saturday’s win over Southern Mississippi, the Bulldogs averaged 442 yards and will to duplicate the effort at home against LSU.
Defensively, Mississippi State had a very physical defensive front last year that registered 37 sacks and allowed 152 rushing yards per game. The weakness of the unit last year was the secondary which allowed 273 passing yards per game to their opponents. In last Saturday’s win over Southern Mississippi, the Bulldogs allowed 311 passing yards to the Golden Eagles. The Bulldogs allowed Southern Mississippi to complete 68% of the passes and will need to step up against LSU wide receivers Malachi Dupre (318 yards, 5 tD’s) and Travin Dural (758 yards, 7 TD’s).
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Joseph Lisi a former ABC Sports college football researcher, is the owner of www.GOFORTHE2.COM. He is a member if the FWAA (Football Writers Association Of America), Maxwell Football Club and is currently the content editor at www.2FiveSports.com. He contributes regularly to www.Sid-Rosenberg.com and has been a featured guest every Tuesday night from 10:30-11:30pm EST on Yahoo Sports Radio With Ken Thomson (www.sportsxradio.com).
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