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Mississippi State vs. LSEAUX: The Big Preview

Let's GEAUXXXXXX. It's MSU and LSU. It's Mullen versus EL HAT. Can MSU party like it's 1999? We'll find out Saturday night. Let us get you ready for the game with the Totally Serious Opponent Report, our game preview, matchup breakdowns, and a Q&A with And The Valley Shook.

Pic inspired by a previous work done by @BeastManSteve
Pic inspired by a previous work done by @BeastManSteve



It's time for week five of The Big Preview -- as we get ready for a game that's given us heartburn and hangover year after year since 2000. The LSU Tigers come to town this weekend fresh off of a close, tough loss at the hands of Georgia. Will they exact their anger and revenge on MSU this weekend? Will MSU exact revenge and years of frustration on the Tigers? Will we all be so hung over still from the Black Crowes concert that we don't even care? All these questions and more we'll have answers for soon enough. Now for the other questions you might have, let's get to previewing.

In this week's The Big Preview, we take a good, thorough, and completely serious look at the LSU Tigers by way of our Totally Serious Opponent Report, our traditional Game Preview, a matchups breakdown looking at the specific matchups in this game, and this week we'll get you some answers to questions on the LSU Tigers from our SBNation friends at And The Valley Shook.

Click any of the four links below to scroll directly to the section that you're looking for (each section also features a button at the end to take you back to the top of the page):

Totally Serious Opponent Report by James Carskadon
Game Preview -- Mississippi State vs. LSU by JLgrindin
Matchups Breakdown: MSU vs. LSU by Metal Building Dawg
Q&A with LSU SBNation site And The Valley Shook with Billy Gomila

Totally Serious Opponent Report - LSU

by James Carskadon

From a cultural perspective, LSU represents a decent portion of what makes the SEC so fun: alcohol, championships, and grass-eating coaches. Of course, in Starkville, LSU also represents a core frustration of Mississippi State fans: consistent losses to SEC powerhouses. MSU is one generous touchdown call away (1999) from having a losing streak against LSU that is old enough to legally drink. Conversely, MSU is also a few inches away (2009) from having a much shorter losing streak against LSU (the philosophy of Charlie Conway applies here).

So what do we know about this year's LSU team? Well, they're experiencing an offensive renaissance under new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. The Tigers are ranked 18th in all of FBS with 42.8 points scored per game. Cameron has an extensive NFL background, although he was fired from his job as offensive of coordinator weeks before they went on to win the Super Bowl. That's kind of like being dumped by someone, then looking up six weeks later and your ex lover is winning the Miss America pageant. But as far as rebound jobs go, LSU appears to be a good fit. Some would say transitioning from working for a Harbaugh brother to working for Les Miles would be a bit of a shock, but the guy managed to play Lee Corso and Bobby Knight at the same time, which is probably the best way to reach one's true Yin and Yang balance. The second best way, of course, is listening to the Ying Yang Twins non-stop for ten hours.

Leading LSU's offense on the field is Zach Mettenberger, a perfectly capable quarterback who does not exactly have a face that screams "quarterback!" at you.

Fun LSU Facts
  • In 1925, an LSU argronomy professor was MURDERED WITH AN AXE on campus. We can only assume this was done by the terrifying, axe-weilding cartel hit men in Breaking Bad (we're not sure how they got a time machine or why they felt the need to visit Baton Rogue).
  • T-Bob Hebert really is the name of a former LSU offensive lineman, and there has never been a more perfect pairing of a name with a school. The sadness you are experiencing in 2013 could be due to the fact that you no longer get to hear Verne Lundquist say Hebert's name five times more than any other lineman on the field.
  • Mike the Tiger has a living facility that costs more than a million dollars. That money will some day be involved in a corruption scandal, because this is Louisiana, after all.
  • The school has a proud tradition of punter taunting penalties.

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Game Preview - LSU

by JLgrindin

MSU vs. LSU - Sidebar

The last time the LSU Tigers came to Davis-Wade Stadium, they battled the Bulldogs to a 19-6 victory in a defensive struggle. In 2013, it appears that will not be the case.

The Bulldogs are averaging just 34 points per game this season, while the visiting Tigers are averaging just shy of 43 points per game. Each team will feature a backfield of All-SEC talents in Jeremy Hill of LSU and LaDarius Perkins for the Bulldogs. LSU quarterback Zack Mettenberger has joined AJ McCarron, Johnny Manziel and Aaron Murray as one of the SEC and all of college football’s elite quarterbacks. While MSU has seen success in recent weeks with Dak Prescott, we might also see Tyler Russell on Saturday. Which, before you freak out, might not be so bad. The Tiger secondary looked suspect against Georgia, albeit against the aforementioned Murray, this past Saturday. So the MSU offense might not be so bad off against the Tigers on Saturday if the offensive line play is good.

With all that being said, I expect this game to be a higher scoring affair similar to the 2009 meeting between the Tigers and Bulldogs in Starkville that ended 30-26 in favor of the Bayou Bengals..

While in the days leading up to this game Dan Mullen is telling the media that we will see both Tyler Russell and Dak Prescott under center in this game, I tend to think he is just trying to make things tougher on John Chavis and the LSU defense. I think we will see much more of Prescott than Russell in this game. While Russell could likely have success through the air, you have to go with Prescott, who has seemingly taken the offense to another level in recent weeks. Throughout his career Dan Mullen has tip-toed the line of playing two quarterbacks, so I don’t doubt his ability to manage them. However, I think Prescott has clearly shown his future can be right now.

While I think MSU will be able to score on the LSU defense, I also can see a scenario where the LSU passing attack and the weapons at the disposal of Mettenberger give the young MSU secondary a lot of trouble. I feel we will see a closer-than-anticipated, high-scoring affair this Saturday in Davis-Wade Stadium. It will be a challenge for Dan Mullen and company and how they play in this game could determine their approach to the rest of the season.

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Injury Report - LSU

Mississippi State Injury Report


Tyler Russell (Head),Ferlando Bohanna (Head)

Out for Season

Jay Hughes (Achilles), Justin Malone (Foot)

Matchup Breakdowns: MSU vs. LSU

by Metal Building Dawg

MSU Front Seven vs. LSU running game

To me, this is probably the biggest matchup of the game. Can MSU stop, or at least contain, the LSU rushing attack?

There's no doubt the Bulldogs are improved on the defensive line. The question will be how much help will they need to stop the run? Can we keep the safties in coverage or will we have to bring them into the box?

Stat LSU offense MSU defense
Overall rushing YPG 192 120
National rank 55th 31st
SEC rank 11th 4th
Rushing YPG vs. SEC 152 120

Against Auburn, Jeremy Hill was able to break loose for runs of 49 and 54 yards. The gaping holes he had to run through were the major reason why he was able to pick up those large gains. Will MSU be able to plug those holes and keep the LSU run game contained? Georgia was able to do it quite effectively only allowing 77 yards on the ground...the longest run of the day was 16 yards and pretty much everything else was snuffed out.

Tyler Russell vs. LSU passing defense

The LSU secondary appears to be the weak spot of Chavis' group, but that's not really saying much when talking about the Tigers. If Tyler Russell starts/plays, will he be able to move the ball through the air?

With Russell in the game LSU will most likely be able to stay in their base defense to stop the run, creating more congested throwing lanes for Tyler. He will have to make precision passes to move the ball. Unless somehow our receiver are getting really good separation he must release the football and give the wideout a chance to make a play, even if he is covered. He must stay aggressive through the air and complete a number of passes if there is any hope of opening up the run game.

Dak Prescott vs. LSU rushing defense

The biggest thing MSU will need to do in this game offensively is figure out a way to run the ball. I think Dak gives State it's best chance to do that, but he will have to make good, quick decisions on the read option. Prescott presents a variable to the LSU defense that must be accounted for, and if his ability to run the ball brings an 8th defender into the box it may open up some opportunities in the passing game.

Common Opponent: Auburn
Rush defense 213 120
Pass defense 224 339
Rush offense 227 202
Pass offense 229 213

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Q&A with And The Valley Shook

with Billy Gomila

1. LSU had some difficulty running the ball against Georgia, what did you feel was the crux of the problem?

LSU's new center-guard triangle has struggled a little bit with odd fronts, specifically nose tackles. Georgia's defense kind of played to that, and threw in a lot of run-blitzes as well. Linebackers were really flying around. I'll say this though -- LSU's running game managed to get going in the second half. If you take out the sack yardage, they managed to rush for just over 100 yards. It wasn't the dominant performance it had against Auburn, but they were able to get some consistent and effective push in the second half.

2. After a somewhat surprising showing by the LSU defense in Athens, do you have any concerns about Chavis' group going into Starkville?

That's probably LSU's biggest concern right now. The signs have been bad for this unit for most of the season, but we were stills shocked at how easy Aaron Murray made things look on Saturday. LSU just doesn't have many playmakers in the front seven right now, and in the secondary there have been a surprising number of coverage busts to go along with new faces struggling. I'm hopeful that the coverage busts can be taken care of. But the pass-rush is scary right now.

3. Is there a LSU player that may be flying under the radar that MSU fans should keep an eye on while watching the game?

I expect LSU to rely on sophomore linebacker Kwon Alexander more and more as the weeks go by. A few other young guys may be given an increased role, such as freshman defensive end Tashawn Bower. There has also been some talk of working backup quarterback Anthony Jennings into the game to give the running game a boost, but that would likely depend on game situations and how the offense is flowing.

4. I, personally, am dying to end this losing streak to LSU - is there even the slightest bit of uneasiness in the LSU fanbase that it could end on Saturday?

Personally, there is for me. I mean these streaks have to end some time, and after such a heartbreaking loss it could definitely be a good time to be catching LSU. Especially with State coming off a bye week. Of course, it's also entirely possible that a very angry group of Tigers could be coming to Davis-Wade Stadium. And if Zach Mettenberger stays this dialed in, there aren't many defenses that will be able to stop him and his receivers.

5. How do you see this game going, and a score prediction?

I'm not one for score predictions, but I think the streak remains intact. Mettenberger, Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham will do their thing. LSU will get out to a lead and then try to pound Jeremy Hill and the running backs. This defense is the topic of much consternation right now among LSU fans, but I don't think State has enough offensive firepower to fully take advantage right now.

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Can the Bulldogs make it back to back losses to the canine family for LSU? -- Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

  • Tyler Russell photo included in the injury report courtesy of Bob Levey -- Getty Images
  • Editing, style and layout by thecristilmethod