Week 4 SEC: Mississippi State at LSU

Week 4 SEC Fearless Predictions: Mississippi State at LSU

Week 4 SEC
- South Carolina at Vanderbilt
- Mississippi State at LSU 
- Indiana at Missouri 
- Florida at Alabama
- NIU at Arkansas, Texas A&M at SMU, Troy at Georgia

Mississippi State (3-0) at LSU (3-0) Sept. 20, 7:00, ESPN

Here's The Deal: It’s the 106th meeting between the two, and while LSU hasn’t one every one since coming up with a 6-0 road victory in 1902, it only seems like it. The Tigers have won 14 in a row in the series and 21 of the last 22 with Mississippi State last coming up with a victory in 1999 – this time it might be different. This time, the Bulldogs have the experience and the talent to pull off the program-changing win.

Okay so far, the MSU did what it was supposed to against Southern Miss and dominated South Alabama last week, but struggled a wee bit with UAB. All of the tune-ups were to get ready for the run of three straight games against fop eight teams with Texas A&M and Auburn to follow, but both of those are in Starkville. This is going to be an attitude moment for a team and a coach needing a signature win. MSU’s last win over a team from a Power 5 conference that finished with a winning record came in the 2011 Gator Bowl against Michigan a full three seasons ago.

For LSU, it’s another business-as-usual big moment after starting out with a battle against Wisconsin and shutting out Sam Houston State and ULM in easy blowouts over teams with decent offenses. With New Mexico State up next, the Tigers will be 5-0 going into the showdown at Auburn if they can get by MSU, but the defense has to come up with its strongest effort yet against a nasty MSU ground game, and the offense has to be as brutally efficient as it’s been since the second half of the win over the Badgers.

Why Mississippi State Might Win: The Bulldogs have been able to come up with a nearly perfect balance so far offensively. Wisconsin had LSU dead, but couldn’t complete a forward pass because the receivers didn’t appear to know what they were doing. MSU’s receivers have been terrific so far with QB Dak Prescott spreading the wealth around, but when needed, Jameon Lewis is the main man. The LSU defense can’t just pin its ears back and attack Prescott – MSU is too good at getting the ball out of his hands when he’s under pressure. Prescott will take sacks, but if he’s on, he’ll be a nightmare for the Tiger D to contain. He ran for 103 yards and a touchdown in last year’s loss, but …

Why LSU Might Win: He completed just 9-of-20 passes for 106 yards with a pick. The Mississippi State pass defense has been okay, but not great giving up way too many big plays to UAB and getting dinked and dunked on by Southern Miss and South Alabama. The difference being that none of those three have much of a running game to rely on – LSU won’t throw the ball 55 times like USA did. No one has been able to run for anywhere close to three yards a crack on the MSU defense, but no one has the pounders up front like LSU has. LSU has done a terrific job of controlling the ball and the clock, holding it for close to 34 minutes a game – time of possession hasn’t been a big deal to MSU so far. It will be this week.

Who To Watch Out For: Dak Prescott might be the star quarterback in this game, but LSU QB Anthony Jennings has to be solid and he has to lean on his tremendous backfield. LSU hasn’t needed super-recruit Leonard Fournette yet, but he’s been effective when given the chance over the last two weeks running for 92 yards and a score against Sam Houston State and 52 yards and a touchdown against ULM – the big man is starting to get revved up. However, Kenny Hilliard has been the team’s most effective back, leading the team with 215 yards and coming up with 110 against Wisconsin. QB Anthony Jennings hasn’t had to do too much with his legs so far, but this week he’ll have to get on the move to keep the Bulldog linebackers from taking off into the backfield to stop the Tiger backs.

What’s Going To Happen: Mississippi State will show it belongs. The defense will be frustrating and effective, and Prescott will have a few brilliant moments to keep the game alive. By the fourth quarter, though, LSU will keep going with its fastball as it pounds and keeps pounding away well into the second half. MSU will have its chances late, but the Tigers will go on a big late drive to put it away.
Prediction: LSU 31 … Mississippi State 20
Line: LSU -9.5 o/u: 50
Must Watch Factor: (5: The Guest - 1: Extreme Guide To Parenting) … 4

Week 4 SEC
- South Carolina at Vanderbilt
- Mississippi State at LSU 
- Indiana at Missouri 
- Florida at Alabama
- NIU at Arkansas, Texas A&M at SMU, Troy at Georgia

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