No. 2 LSU still wary of Mississippi State

Field Level Media

October 16, 2019 at 12:59 am.

No. 2 LSU is 6-0 and has wins against two top-10 opponents this season.

It defeated then-No. 7 Florida 42-28 on Saturday, which earned it a jump of three spots in The Associated Press poll.

So the Tigers (2-0 in the SEC) are on a roll as they prepare to visit Mississippi State on Saturday afternoon.

The Bulldogs (3-3, 1-2) are struggling after getting routed by Auburn (56-23) and losing at Tennessee (20-10) on Saturday.

But it was just two years ago that LSU was ranked No. 11, went into Starkville, Miss., and lost 37-7 to an unranked Mississippi State team. It was the Bulldogs’ largest margin of victory in the 112-game series.

So the Tigers aren’t looking at their ranking or the Bulldogs’ recent struggles as an indication of what to expect Saturday.

“I will remind (the Tigers) that we walked into a hornet’s nest two years ago, and I didn’t have them ready,” LSU coach Ed Orgeron said. “That was one of the loudest stadiums we played in all year. Obviously, they played lights out.

“We did not play very well. They play very good at home. We’re expecting a tough battle.”

LSU has scored 40-plus points in each of its first six games for the first time in school history. That streak extends through the final three games of last season, making LSU just the 13th team in college football history to score at that rate in nine straight games.

The Tigers lead the nation in scoring (52.5 points per game), and they’re second in yards per game (561).

But their defense has had issues, giving up 38 points to both Texas and Vanderbilt and allowing Florida to drive 75 yards to a touchdown on four possessions to take a 28-21 third-quarter lead before the Tigers clamped down.

“That’s not how we want to play football at LSU,” Orgeron said. “We want to play great defense. That’s not acceptable. It’s not what we want to do. We’ve got to get better.”

Mississippi State had an open date between the losses at Auburn and at Tennessee.

“There is no excuse,” Bulldogs coach Joe Moorhead said of the performance against the Volunteers. “We were out-coached, we were outplayed — with 13 days to prepare. We need to, we can, and we will do better.”

Moorhead, who was offensive coordinator at Penn State before going to Mississippi State, said that his first season and a half in the SEC “in a lot of ways has been a humbling experience.”

“It takes time to build special things,” he said. “I know it is obviously not apparent with our performance on the field last week and against Auburn, but from a long-term (view), I couldn’t be more excited. I know for a fact that as I stand here, it can and will and is going to happen.”

The Bulldogs will be counting on running back Kylin Hill, who has four 100-yard games and is second in the SEC in rushing yards per game (101.5), to take some pressure off freshman quarterback Garrett Shrader.

Mississippi State, which on Saturday will be playing its only October home game, is third in the country with 16 takeaways.

LSU won last year’s meeting, 19-3 in Baton Rouge, La.