LSU at Mississippi State Preview
Coming off their embarrassing loss to Tennessee, Mississippi State gets to come home and face the hottest team in country in the LSU Tigers. That’s life in the SEC, something that Joe Moorhead is figuring out is tougher than expected. On Monday, the Mississippi State head coach said in his weekly Monday press conference that, “coaching in the SEC for about a year and a half now, in a lot of ways, has been a humbling experience.” In what was an emotional press conference on Monday, he did name true freshman Garrett Shrader QB1. That’s a step in the right direction, but it won’t matter who’s at QB this weekend when Joe Burrow and his offense come to town.
LSU’s offense has been most likely the biggest story of this college football season thus far. What Steve Ensminger and Joe Brady have done with this offense has been nothing short of brilliant, but it also helps when your QB is taking online classes and seemingly spending every waking moment at the football facility. Joe Burrow has thrown for 2,157 yards to go along with 25 passing TDs and 3 interceptions. In comparison, Burrow threw for 2,894 yards and 16 touchdowns all of last season. His completion percentage is almost 80%, to go along with those ridiculous numbers he’s put up at this point in the season. At running back, it’s more by committee but Clyde Edwards-Helaire is going to see the bulk of the carries. He has 78 rushes for 494 yards and 7 touchdowns. At wide receiver, Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase are the main targets for Burrow with Terrace Marshall out with an injury. Jefferson has 40 receptions for 670 yards and 8 touchdowns, while Chase has 30 receptions for 578 yards and 8 touchdowns. Burrow also likes throwing to Thaddeus Moss, Randy Moss’ son, who has 11 catches for 153 yards and a touchdown and Derrick Dillon who has 8 catches for 115 yards. However LSU decides to attack this MSU defense, they’ll be successful.
For the Bulldogs, it’s finally time for a full Shrader game. He’ll have a tough job against a tough LSU defense, but his confidence level won’t allow him to fail much this Saturday. Mississippi State has to do what they’ve failed to do in the past few weeks and that’s get off to a quick start on offense, can’t afford to go 3 and out on the first possession. While an upset isn’t probable, it’s still possible so keeping the LSU offense off the field for extended periods of time will be a step in that direction for Joe Moorhead and this offense. The Bulldogs also have to find ways to get the ball to Kylin Hill in space this weekend, something they haven’t done a good job of doing since the Kentucky game. He’s the team’s best threat on offense and they’re failing to get him the ball and that starts with the HC. As for the pass catchers, Shrader is going to be hard pressed to find someone more reliable than Osirus Mitchell. It’ll be a tough matchup for Osirus this weekend because he’ll likely be guarded by one of LSU’s future All-American corners, but yards can be had on that defense.
As stated above, yards can be had on this LSU defense just because of how fast their offense scores on opposing defenses. That does not mean that LSU doesn’t have talent on that side of the ball, however. Grant Delpit will likely be a top 10 pick, K’Lavon Chaisson is one of the best edge rushers in the SEC, Kristian Fulton is likely a first round pick at corner, and Derek Stingley is the best freshman corner in the SEC. For whatever reason, this defense has struggled so far this season but it’s not because of the talent. Dave Arranda is one of the best defensive minds in college football, but could LSU’s offense be scoring too fast for their defense to catch their breath? If that’s the case, Mississippi State might be able to put up some points this weekend and potentially calm the fan base down.
For the first time this season, you can’t blame a loss on the Mississippi State defense but then again they were playing a bad Tennessee that was able to move the ball on them. While Bob Shoop is the least of State’s problems, the fall from being the best defense in SEC from a season ago shouldn’t have been this far. Whether you blame “tutorgate” or the loss of depth on the defensive line or losing three first rounders, the defense is the least of Miss. State’s problems. Cam Dantzler, Maurice Smitherman, CJ Morgan, and the rest of Mississippi State’s defensive backs will have their work cut out for them this week, with the talented LSU passing game. If Miss. State holds LSU’s offense to 40 points or fewer, it’s going to feel like a win for that side of the ball.
There’s not a scenario in mind that could have Mississippi State winning this game, although it could be closer than expected. Vegas has LSU favored by 18.5, so they may know something other’s don’t in that regard. LSU is going to win this one going away. The former Mississippi State fan, Joe Burrow, will go into Starkville and easily quiet the cowbells. Final: LSU 59, Mississippi State 21