Last week was a tough, tough week to be a Bulldog. So many times we get built up for a big game like we did against Auburn last Saturday only to be let down. Hard to do, but have to keep on grindin and on to the next one. Here's 5 question's on this week's opponent LSU with The Bruce Dickinson, C.G. Mosley Tyler Nelson and myself of our site.
Q1: Are you concerned about the team putting such a tough L behind them and to have to turn around and play #2 on a short week?
C.G. Mosley: Yes, I'm very concerned. Not only was it a tough loss on the road, but our guys got beat up pretty bad. Hopefully they can use the loss as motivation to come out and kick LSU up and down the field Thursday night. Coach Mullen stated on Sunday that this team handles adversity well. We're about to find out just how well...and at least we've got them at home!
The Bruce Dickinson: The loss to Auburn was a tough pill to swallow for the fans. hopefully the team can learn from the mistakes and missed opportunities and turn it around quick for Thursday night.
Tyler Nelson: Not with Dan Mullen at the helm. He won’t let the Bulldogs hang their head and feel bad for themselves. As Mullen mentioned earlier this week in his teleconference, his team is “angry” that they should have won at Auburn. It was a very emotional loss (I was exhausted and I didn’t even leave my couch), but Mullen is a master motivator. Besides, if you can’t get hyped up to play a top-5 team at home on national television, you should sit at home anyway and watch Project Runway. #makeitwork
OURstateBlog: Absolutely. Any time that you come off such a gut-wrenching loss it will be difficult to bounce back. But I believe Dan will have our guys up and ready to play Thursday night. This is too big of a game for them not to be.
Q2: What will State have to do to have success against LSU's talented defense?
C.G. Mosley: I don't think that there is any question that State has a pretty darn good offense. Although I don't think we'll put up the high scores we've done the past two weeks, I do believe that MSU will be able to score often enough to make this a tough game for LSU. It's not really LSU's defense that concerns me...it's ours. The Bulldogs just gave up too many big plays against Auburn. I believe that LSU is a better team than Auburn right now and they're capable of making a lot more big plays.
The Bruce Dickinson: The LSU defense seems to be weak at linebacker and short on experience in the secondary. I think you will see lots of option and short screen passes, very similar to what we ran against Auburn. We will also need to keep from racking up negative yards on stupid penalties.
Tyler Nelson: CHAD BUMPHIS. CHAD BUMPHIS. CHAD BUMPHIS. It’s time to become the player you are supposed to be, Chad. Chris Relf has to be able to throw the ball and relieve some of the pressure LSU’s front seven will cause. That’s where Chad comes in. He not only has to haul in catchable balls, he has to put up some major yards-after-catch numbers. Vick Ballard is a beast but the Tigers’ defensive line is mammoth. Which brings me to…
OURstateBlog: I'm sure this is stating the obvious, but State has got to play mistake free football. Chris Relf has come along way over the past 3-4 years and we need him now more than ever to have as perfect of a football game as he can. I would like to see Ballard get more touches than Relf in this game, because frankly I'm concerned about Relf running the ball 15 times against a defense as big and fast as LSU's. We all expect big things from Ballard and Bumphis, but we need the other offensive skill positions like Chris Smith, Michael Carr, etc. to step up and make big plays if we are going to have a chance.
Q3: Losing James Carmon and Quentin Saulsberry last week - which one do you think will hurt us worst going forth?
C.G. Mosley: It looks like Saulsberry will probably be back, so if I had to pick one I'd say Carmon, BUT I just don't think losing him is going to be as bad as some people may think. Blaine Clausell did a decent job against Auburn under some pretty tough circumstances.
The Bruce Dickinson: I think Dillon Day did a great job filling in for Saulsberry at center. We did not have any bad snaps and he seemed to make all his assignments. Losing Carmon is going to hurt the most and we saw evidence of that when Clausell entered the game.
I would start Dillon Day at center and move Saulsberry over to left tackle. He seems to be our utility player on the offensive line and would probably make the transition to tackle better against the strong LSU d-line. This is all assuming that Saulsberry would be ready to go on Thursday, which he probably won't be.
Tyler Nelson: James Carmon. Dillon Day did serviceable in replace of Quentin Saulsberry but Blane Clausell was underwhelming. For the lack of technique Carmon has, he is a veteran player who can use his strength to give some ends fits.
OURstateBlog: Thankfully it sounds like neither guys injury is as severe as Bulldog fans thought they may be watching the game Saturday. I think State will be fine Thursday with Blaine Clausell starting at left tackle, but we are going to have to get him some help on that side because Sam Montgomery is a beast. Glad to have Quentin back under center for this week's game. Solid, solid player at C for us and is an undervalued member of this offensive unit IMO.
Q4: Which State player has got to step up and have a great game for us to have a chance this Thursday?
C.G. Mosley: As the leader of the defense, Fletcher Cox has got to step up and make life difficult on Jarrett Lee. I really believe that if our defense will do their job, Relf and the offense will get things clicking on their end. Having said that, if the defense puts us behind late, Coach Mullen will probably look to Vick Ballard once again to keep MSU in the game.
The Bruce Dickinson: Defensive Line. Fletcher Cox was back against Auburn, but was getting double teamed on just about every play. Ferguson wasn't doing much on the other end. We need to control the line of scrimmage on defense.
Really the entire defense needs to step it up. Cameron Lawrence was a bright spot in the LB corps against Auburn, and Brandon Maye seems to have a good eye for how a play is going to develop. I wonder why he is not starting.
Tyler Nelson: See question two.
OURstateBlog: I think this game falls on Matthew Wells, Brandon Maye, Cameron Lawrence and all the LB corps. LSU isn't going to run Auburn's speed sweep mess, they're going to line up and come straight at us. We have got to have great play out of those 3 positions against the run and protecting from LSU using the TE too much in the passing game.
Q5: Game Score Prediction?
C.G. Mosley: I refuse to pick against the 'Dawgs this week...we rebound from the tough loss and shock the college football world...MSU wins 28-24.
The Bruce Dickinson: I want to say that MSU will pull off the upset, but this is LSU, and they own us. If we do pull it off, it will be by the closest margin. MSU 28, LSU 27.
Tyler Nelson: I feel it’ll be a pretty evenly matched game until midway through the third quarter when State’s lack of depth on the lines shows up. I hope it doesn’t happen but, LSU wins 31-24.
OURstateBlog: Never will I ever pick against the Bulldogs. I've avoided saying this all week but I'll say it here: State comes out fired up and ready to play, they feed off a rowdy crowd's energy, make some big plays early, and battle to the end and pull out a W. I'll say 28-17 MState.