The game is at 11 a.m. CT and can be watched on ESPNU.
What to Watch For
Deemed one of the nation’s best corners, Cameron Dantzler will have to be on full lockdown. Standing at 6-foot-2, Dantzler will have the height advantage over Louisiana wideouts Ja’Marcus Bradley and Jarrod “Bam” Jackson. In addition to his height, Dantzler is a pure athlete who will fight for any ball. Look for Dantzler to neutralize Bradley and/or Jackson, thus take away two formidable weapons from Ragin’ Cajun quarterback Levi Lewis.
A preseason all All-American and candidate for the Bednarik, Bronko Nagurski, and Jim Thorpe awards, Dantzler will have to live up to high expectations. While Bradley and Jackson are dangerous, Dantzler is capable of containing each. The matchup could go either way, but given his height and athleticism, Dantzler should have the leverage.
Tommy Stevens’ Bulldog debut
Will it be against the Ragin’ Cajuns that Stevens makes his name? The answer, possibly. That said, the connection to coach Joe Moorhead could be a factor. Furthermore, Stevens has the requisite pieces around him to have a strong outing. With the newly acquired Isaiah Zuber, Stevens may give the speedster his share of targets.
As it pertains to Stevens, decision making is king. Whether it be finding receivers or handing the ball off to running back Kylin Hill, Stevens must be in control.
Erroll Thompson against the run
Thompson, who came into his own as a sophomore, has become the “quarterback of the defense” at linebacker. Like Stevens, he must become a leader who can be relied upon. Thompson will have his hands full going up against a three headed monster in Louisiana running backs Trey Ragas, Elijah Mitchell, and Raymond Calais. Ragin’ Cajun head coach Billy Napier should use all three.
Thompson has seen it all in the SEC. Fresh off an 87 tackle sophomore campaign, the hard-hitting Thompson has the skillset to adjust to each back mentioned above. Per his speed and a quick first step, Thompson can get into the backfield and become a disruption.
Additionally, he will have some help from fellow junior linebacker Willie Gay Jr. Though Ragas, Mitchel, and Calais will put up numbers, Thompson and Gay are sure to throw a lethal counterpunch. Expect a filled stat line from Thompson.
Mississippi State gets past Louisiana 30-13.