Peeps, it's time for our bi-annual trip down to Baton Rouge. As we all know, this game has been a study in futility for the Bulldogs the last two decades. LSU has won something like 14 in a row and 21 of the last 22. That's approaching Florida-Kentucky territory. So what will the Dawgs need to do for the LSU Streak to come to an end?
1. Run the "Darn" Football: You might as well just get used to seeing this as #1 every week. You're going to be sick of me saying it. But if you want to win the big ones in the SEC, you better be able to run the football effectively. This is especially true for MSU. As "The Kang" Jackie Sherrill used to say, we can't get into a track meet with teams like LSU, Florida, etc. and expect to win. We have to win by making it "ugly," being more physical, and generally being a bigger bully. Plus, Dan Mullen's spread attack is predicated on the threat of the power run. Running the football opens up everything else in this offense. I said it in the USA ACQB, but I'll repeat it here: Any game where Dak Prescott and Josh Robinson don't run the ball 15 times each is a game we wasted. Don't get cute. Run the "Darn" Football.
2. Stop the Run: Similarly, if you want to win big time SEC games, you better stop the run. Especially against a team like LSU that thrives on the power run game. LSU wants to impose its will physically on the ground, then hit big plays via play-action off it. With LSU starting a young QB, the Dawgs would be well advised to stop the run and force Jennings to make plays with his arm to win.
3. Big Plays in the Middle of the Field: State needs to hit some chunk plays for 20+ yards in the middle of the field. LSU's D has looked solid so far. It will be hard to make a living driving 10+ plays and 70 yards all night. You gotta hit some big plays and get yards in chunks to be successful offensively. But this is predicated on point 1: Running the football. If we have the threat of the run, it frees up the Dak Attack to make plays off play-action.
4. Tackle: Self-explanatory. LSU has talented skill players. They'll kill you if you don't wrap up and allow them to get YAC. State was better at this last week against USA, but still a little sloppy at times. The Dawgs need to be solid all night in Death Valley.
5. Eliminate Turnovers and Pre-Snap Penalties: Once aGAIN, self-explanatory. If State wants to beat LSU in Death Valley, you can't give away possessions. With our run-heavy offense, pre-snap penalties are a killer. You can't get behind the chains and expect to consistently move the ball. Dak has to eliminate the INTs in the redzone. Those possessions are beyond valuable, and we can't throw away points because Dak didn't put enough air under the ball. Can't fumble, either. The other downside of turnovers is it gives LSU's OL, which some consider the best in the country, extra snaps to lean on our front 7. That's the kind of thing that will come back to haunt a team in the 4th quarter.
That's what I think State needs to do to win. And praying it doesn't come down to having to make a FG wouldn't hurt, either. What are your keys this week?
In Mullen We Trust,