Mike Leach and the Mississippi State Bulldogs are headed out to Baton Rouge looking for a road win against the LSU Tigers. Leach’s last trip to Death Valley went pretty well, all things considered, but the Tigers found a way to win a game in Starkville last season that State certainly could have won.
How will the Mississippi State football team look this week? Can they continue to look sharp so far this season?
This is a section from Mississippi State football vs. LSU preview: Everything you need for Bulldogs vs. Tigers. Click here to read the full preview.
Table of contents:
- Mississippi State football: 3 LSU Tigers to watch
- Mississippi State football vs. LSU Tigers: 3 storylines to watch
- Mississippi State football vs. LSU Tigers history
Mississippi State football: 3 LSU Tigers to watch
- Jayden Daniels – Previously a member of the Arizona State Sun Devils, Jayden Daniels has made his move to Baton Rouge and joined the Tigers. He’s really talented and can really be fun to watch. As long as he isn’t driving your favorite team’s defensive coordinator crazy, that is. He’s proven to be accurate through the air while at Arizona State and he’s certainly quick enough to scoot right on past your favorite linebackers. Let’s see how much LSU opens the playbook up for Daniels and how he does when matched up against everything Zach Arnett brings to the table.
- Major Burns – This dude has a top 5 name of all college football players this season. It’s a great name. Unfortunately, he’s also a really talented defensive back. I don’t love that Major Burns will be in LSU’s secondary. He recorded a total of 9 tackles against the Bulldogs in Starkville a season ago and I’m not looking forward to seeing what he’s able to do this week.
- Armoni Goodwin – LSU running back Armoni Goodwin is intriguing to me. I’m old enough to remember when Les Miles and his Tigers would utilize several running backs in his rushing attack to ground his opponents into a paste and then win some games. That really wasn’t that long ago, if we’re being honest. I wonder if Brian Kelly will be doing some of the same this year and how much Goodwin will run. He has 17 carries for 99 yards and 2 touchdowns so far this season.
Mississippi State football vs. LSU Tigers: 3 storylines to watch
Storyline 1: Which LSU offense shows up this week and can the Bulldogs slow it down?
LSU’s offense has been an inconsistent mess at times so far through two games, to say the least. The sample size is small, sure, but it’s hard not to think about how rough the Tigers looked as they took on the Florida State Seminoles in New Orleans.
The Tigers mustered a grand total of 348 yards in their season opener. That’s about it. And that’s not good at all.
That said, week two was a significantly different story for LSU. It should be noted that the Tigers were facing an outmatched foe from the FCS, the Southern Jaguars, but there was still significant improvement between the first game and the second for LSU.
Against the Jaguars, LSU managed to rack up 550 yards of offense. That’s pretty good!
So what will things look like when the Bulldogs get to face the Tigers on Saturday?
Storyline 2: Will the Air Raid be as successful in Death Valley as it was in 2020?
This is definitely something that folks will be talking about for much of this game. Remember that fun performance Mississippi State got from KJ Costello in 2020? The one where Costello, who really didn’t thrive much in Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense, threw for 623 yards and 5 touchdowns while completing 36 of 60 passes. Sure, Costello also tossed a couple of picks, but LSU simply had no answer for what he was able to do and the Bulldogs came away with a 44-34 victory over the 6th-ranked, defending national champs to start the 2020 season.
That’s something you can expect people to talk about throughout the evening on Saturday. Because that game was a thrill to watch. And it’s rare to see someone throw for more than 600 yards in a single game.
It’d be a little unfair to expect Will Rogers and company to repeat that sort of absurd performance. But Rogers doesn’t really have to be all sorts of spectacular for the Mississippi State Bulldogs to get a road win. He just needs to continue doing what he’s done so far this season.
Complete a high percentage of passes (right now he’s at 78.6% on the season). Throw a solid number of touchdowns (he leads the SEC with 9 through two games). Limit mistakes (he’s got a couple interceptions on an SEC-leading 98 attempts and an SEC-leading 77 completions).
Storyline 3: How does Mississippi State do on the road after two late night games?
I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty tired. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I’ve got a kid running around. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I’m in grad school and work full time. Or maybe it has something to do with the fact that Mississippi State has been in a couple of late games over the past couple weeks.
There’s a good chance this is a nonsense storyline. A very good chance, I suppose. This might be nothing to worry about in the real world. That said, it’s something you can expect to hear folks talk about. Mississippi State started off the season with a REALLY late game against Memphis thanks to a REALLY long weather delay. Then last week there were all sorts of shenanigans as the Bulldogs played out west against the Arizona Wildcats.
So how will things look this week for the Bulldogs? Will there be any sort of fatigue? Can we expect Mississippi State to be a little sloppy as the game gets started? Or is this all just nonsense that might get thrown around because bloggers and podcasters and broadcasters try to understand what is going on in this game?
Mississippi State football vs. LSU Tigers history
If you weren’t already aware, there’s a fair bit of history between the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the LSU Tigers. Both schools are founding members of the Southeastern Conference and given the fact that their respective states happen to neighbor each other, it shouldn’t be any shock to anyone that these two teams have met several times throughout the years.
Unfortunately for Mississippi State fans, this series is a bit one-sided. The Tigers hold the overall record of 76-36-3 and this series started off fairly lopsided as well. Mississippi State did have some notable amounts of success against LSU in the 1970’s and 1980’s, but things went downhill after that.
From 1992 to 2013, Mississippi State recorded just one win against LSU.
That’s not ideal.
But things have been turning around a bit as of late. Mississippi State won in 2014 thanks to Dak Prescott and company. The Bulldogs won again in 2017 as Nick Fitzgerald and company pummeled the Tigers 37-7. There were a few close meetings in between 2014 and 2017 and it seemed like State was starting to get momentum in this series.
Then Dan Mullen left. Joe Moorhead arrived. State underachieved. Moorhead left. State hired Mike Leach. And Mississippi State won again in 2020 as the Bulldogs lit up the Tigers for over 600 passing yards in a 44-34 win in Death Valley to start Leach’s tenure in Starkville.
State had opportunities to win last year and came up short. Now Mississippi State has a chance to get a bit of revenge for that frustrating home loss to the Tigers.