LSU vs. Mississippi State Prediction, Game Preview

    LSU vs. Mississippi State prediction and game preview. Can the Tigers avenge last season's loss to the Bulldogs at home, or will Dak Prescott prove too much to handle?

    September 11, 2015

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    LSU missed out on its tune-up game against McNeese State thanks to the weather, and now it has to hit the ground running against a Mississippi State team that came out working against Southern Miss with a 34-16 win. It’s the first really big game of the SEC season, and while it’s not quite an elimination game in the loaded SEC race … it’s an elimination game in the loaded SEC race.

    Below we dive into the LSU vs. Mississippi State prediction and full game preview.

    LSU vs. Mississippi State Prediction & Preview

    Broadcast

    Date: Saturday, September 12
    Game Time: 9:15 ET
    Network: ESPN

    Why You Need To Care

    It was the official coming out party for Mississippi State last season. Dak Prescott and company rolled into Death Valley and came away with a 34-29 win that was far more dominant than it appeared, at least until the nail-biting last few moments after LSU’s massive comeback. The victory propelled the Bulldogs to a 9-0 start and a No. 1 ranking, and as it turned out, it was the biggest highlight of the season. This time around, beating LSU wouldn’t just be nice for MSU, it’s absolutely necessary with road games at Auburn and Texas A&M the next two SEC games.

    The opener against Southern Miss wasn’t exactly scintillating, but this is supposed to be a bit of a tune-up time for a Bulldog team that needs revamping on both sides of the ball. Fortunately, there’s a superstar quarterback to work around, and Prescott will have to be Heisman-worthy to pull this off.

    What is LSU? The talent is tremendous and the upside is there to be one of the true favorites for the SEC title, but it needs to settle in the quarterback situation and create some semblance of consistency, and it needs to play up to a high level each and every week. That’s why you schedule a McNeese State to start the season, but instead the Tigers have to hit the ground running In Stark Vegas and come away with a win. Lose this, and the home opener against Auburn next week becomes one of the season’s make-or-break moments.

    Why LSU Will Win

    The Mississippi State pass defense was supposed to undergo an overhaul from a group that struggled throughout last season, and it wasn’t pretty from the start. Southern Miss ripped up the Bulldog secondary with 311 yards and a score, and even though MSU had its moments with two good interceptions, it was a long day. LSU is going to need a little while to get the passing game rolling and efficient, but in terms of receiving corps, few offenses have more talent. It’s hardly a given that LSU will get consistent quarterback play out of Brandon Harris, but if he gets into a groove, the numbers will be there.

    Why Mississippi State Will Win

    MSU got hit for 341 yards in last year’s game against LSU, and it still hung on. How did the Bulldogs win? They came up with a balanced attack with a good, strong ground game cranking out yards in chunks to go along with a big passing day from Prescott. They were effective and sharp from the start, LSU was a little sluggish, and they got the big win. This time around, Prescott will have to be terrific again, but it’ll be the running game that has to power up and rock like it did in the opener against USM, averaging more than seven yards per pop. LSU isn’t Southern Miss, but the running attack doesn’t appear to have missed a beat.

    Player Who Matters

    It’s Heisman watch time. Prescott started out his season with an okay 237-yard, two score day with a team-leading 72 yards and a touchdown. Against LSU he has to be the reason the Bulldogs pull off the win, after throwing for an efficient 268 yards and two touchdowns with 105 rushing yards and a score in last year’s game. The team around him isn’t as good, and now he has to carry it even more than he did throughout last season. Win this game, and the hype cranks back up.

    Leonard Fournette didn’t really get his season going yet when Mississippi State came to town, running for just 38 yards on seven carries. The week after he ran for 122 yards and two scores, and the era turned on. After closing out the season with 289 yards and three scores – ripping up Notre Dame for 13 yards per carry – setting the tone for what’s expected to be a huge 2015. However, MSU will be keying on him, forcing Brandon Harris to try to win the game through the air. Last year he made it interesting with 140 yards and two scores in the comeback attempt, and now the spotlight is on to see if he can turn into the type of steady playmaker who can take the heat off the star back.

    What’s Going To Happen?

    LSU will be a little bit rusty, but the lines are going to come out firing. It’s going to be a statement game by the time the second half rolls around with the Tigers looking like an offensive machine. The atmosphere will be outstanding in Starkville, but LSU is just better.

    LSU vs. Mississippi State Score Prediction

    Without further ado, the LSU vs. Mississippi State prediction is …

    Final Score: LSU 31, Mississippi State 23

    Must See Rating: 5: Ferrell Takes the Field – 1: A Walk in The Woods … 4

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