No. 3 LSU travels to Starkville, Miss., tonight to take on the 25th-ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs at 8 pm EST on ESPN and ESPN3.com.
Les Miles' Tigers enter the game with a perfect 2-0 record on the young season with wins against No. 3 Oregon and Northwestern State. Despite some troubles off the field with the club, LSU hasn't had a problem on either side of the football in their first two games of the season. Mississippi State enters the game with just a 1-1 record after a tough road loss last week against Auburn.
Jarrett Lee has done a pretty good job stepping in for suspended quarterback Jordan Jefferson on a team with national championship aspirations this season. Lee has done what's been needed of him in the first two games by not turning the football over and managing the game. There is a quick turn-around for both clubs playing on a short week, but the Tigers are still feeling very confident about their situation. "Everyone knows what this team is capable of, and yes it is going to be
difficult with that quick of a turnaround, but I'm confident we will be
fine," said sophomore corner Tyrann Mathieu, who leads the team with
14 tackles. Most of his team, including coach Miles, are in agreement with the sophomore stud. LSU is definitely in a better position than Mississippi State tonight. The Tigers were able to control Northwestern State the entire contest without really any opposition. Many of the starters, including Lee, didn't play much, if at all, in the second half.
The Bulldogs come into this game licking their wounds, of sorts, after a 41-34 loss to Auburn last week where quarterback Chris Relf was stopped on the goal line as time expired in the game. The Bulldogs come into this game on an emotional loss, obviously, and have to play on a short week to boot. Sure, LSU also has to play on a short week but they are coming off a blowout win where many of their starters didn't play any hard, considerable minutes. Relf and the Bulldog offense have been able to move the ball in their first two games and that will be critical tonight. The Bulldogs have rolled up an average of over 320 yards on the ground in the first couple of games. LSU's defense has allowed just 91 yards rushing in their first two games, including -4 last week against Northwestern State. If Mississippi State is able to win the game tonight they will have to move the football on the ground. Whether it's Relf outside the pocket or tailback Vick Ballard, the Bulldog rushing game will be critical.
In most SEC games in prior years, defense and low-scoring affairs have been king. Tonight, LSU has the better defense between the two clubs. However, the Bulldog D is no slouch. They will have to put pressure on Lee and the LSU offense in order to cause turnovers to stay in the game. LSU does a good job of disguising blitzes and are extremely stout against the run. If they are able to contain the MSU rushing attack, the Tigers will improve to 3-0 on the season while Mississippi State will be looking up from the bottom of the SEC at 0-2 in conference play.
Line: LSU -3 up to -4.5 based on book
Total: 48.5 up to 50 based on book
Public betting: 82% of public is betting on LSU
LSU is the better football team, better conditioned and they are more balanced on both sides of the ball. Mississippi State has lost to LSU 11 straight times.
LSU 24, Mississippi State 13