The LSU Tigers open SEC play looking to erase the memory of their opener from a year ago.
Mississippi State walked into Tiger Stadium and embarrassed the Tigers 44-34. It was LSU’s worst home loss to the Bulldogs since taking a 45-26 defeat in 1983.
Overall, LSU has dominated this series. Mississippi State hasn’t won consecutive games against the Tigers since 1990 and 1991. LSU went a combined 10-12 over those two seasons.
There’s no way to know if losing to Mike Leach and his Bulldogs for a second straight year will send LSU spiraling to it’s first losing season in 22 years, but it could signal the beginning of the end of Ed Orgeron’s tenure in Baton Rouge.
Both teams are still trying to find out who they are. LSU has question marks all over the field and Mississippi State could just as easily be 3-0 or 1-2 considering how they’ve played the first three weeks.
A road win for the Tigers would go a long way in helping to keep the wolves at bay, and give a much better idea of whether or not LSU is a legitimate contender in the SEC West.
Mississippi State presents a number of problems for LSU’s defense. Last season, KJ Costello threw for 623 yards and five touchdowns in Tiger Stadium. This season, Will Rogers leads the SEC with 361 yards passing per game, and is completing 75 percent of his passes.
LSU, which leads the nation in sacks, will have a tough time getting to Rogers. They will have to create consistent pressure if they can’t put Rogers on the ground.
If Rogers gets time, he has weapons at wide receiver that are shifty and able to make plays in space. Considering LSU’s struggles with crossing routes and defending the middle of the field, communication on every level is critical.
It doesn’t help that the Tigers will be missing some key components defensively, including All-America Derek Stingley Jr.
Max Johnson is going to be asked to keep up the pace that LSU played with against Central Michigan. The sophomore quarterback looked much more comfortable with the up-tempo attack than he had during his first two games.
The Tigers can expect to see a good number of blitzes, which will present another challenge for a banged up, and underachieving offensive line. The Bulldogs have a very good cornerback tandem in Martin Emerson and Emmanuel Forbes, and will rely on them in man coverage on most downs.
Freshman running backs Corey Kiner and Armoni Goodwin could be X-factors in a game between two teams that have not been able to establish the run so far.
Kiner led LSU in rushing against CMU and showed that he could make defenders miss, a key asset when the line is struggling to generate holes. It will tough sledding though, as the Bulldogs have the best rushing defense in the conference so far.
This game should be close. If it is, LSU has a big advantage in Cade York. Should this one come down to one kick, there’s no one in the country that LSU fans would rather have take it.
The preliminaries are over. There is no more time for dress rehearsals. Tim for the real LSU Tigers to please stand up.
Otherwise, Ed Orgeron could come up snake eyes in Stark Vegas.
Who: LSU Tigers (2-1) vs Mississippi State Bulldogs (2-1)
When: 11:00 a.m. CT
Where: Davis Wade Stadium, Starkville, Miss.
Listen: 103.7 The Game (Pregame begins at 9:00 a.m.)