Fresh off a bye-week and a huge victory over Auburn, No. 22 Mississippi State (4-2, 1-2) prepares for another tough SEC West test as the Bulldogs face No. 5 LSU (6-1, 3-1) Saturday evening at Tiger Stadium.
The Tigers – which are coming off a huge 36-16 victory over then No. 2 Georgia at home – know the Bulldogs will come ready to play and will look to add another big win to bolster their resume of wins in the division race.
Tiger Stadium has not been a “happy place” for the Bulldogs over the years. Since 2000, Miss. State has only beaten LSU once in Baton Rouge, happening back in 2014 as the Bulldogs defeated the Tigers 34-29.
Before then, one would have to go back all the way to 1991 under then head coach Jackie Sherrill to witness the Bulldogs beat the Tigers 28-19 in Death Valley.
But, as the beauty of college football has shown us, anything can happen on any given Saturday, especially when it matters midway through the month of October.
Miss. State defeated LSU 37-7 a year ago in Starkville. Bulldogs coach Joe Moorhead will look to start a different trend under his reign, with hopes of knocking off another top-ranked conference opponent.
The Bulldogs will rely heavily on its rushing attack with quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, who ranks fifth in the conference in rushing yards with 513 and seven rushing touchdowns.
His teammate, running back Kylin Hill – who ranks ninth in the conference – has rushed for 474 yards on 68 carries and three touchdowns.
As a team, Miss. State averages nearly 431 yards of offense, with 241 coming on the ground and 31 points per game. With such a strong impact, the Bulldogs will look to get the ground game going early against a stingy LSU defense that only allows 120 rushing yards per game (ranked 26th in FBS) and 16.9 points per game.
Considering this, Moorhead’s Bulldogs will be forced to implement the pass into the offense if they want to have a shot at winning. Fitzgerald enters the game completing only 49 percent of his passes, and the Bulldogs ranks 104th in the nation in passing yards per game (190).
For LSU, the Tigers will look to establish a balanced attack against the Bulldogs, much like they did against Georgia, finishing with 275 rushing yards and 200 passing yards.
Tigers quarterback Joe Burrow has thrown for 1,415 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions, sixth best in the conference.
With his contribution, the Tigers have a dynamic duo on the ground with running backs Nick Brossette and sophomore Clyde Edwards-Helaire, both of whom will look to have a solid impact in the game against the Bulldogs.
Brossette has rushed for 640 yards and nine touchdowns, fourth best in the SEC while Edwards-Helaire has eclipsed the 100-yard mark in two of the last six games.
LSU enters the game ranked seventh in the conference in total offense, averaging 404 yards per game with perfect 202 coming on the ground and in the passing game. Defensively, the Tigers give up just over 304 yards to their opponents (ranked 33rd in FCS).