Miles previews the Bulldogs

On Monday, Les Miles previewed Mississippi State - a team he has never lost to in his six full seasons in Baton Rouge.

LSU fans don't have to think hard to dig up memories of the last time their Tigers went to Starkville, Miss.

There was rain, a big return and a goal-line stand.

Most importantly, LSU came back home with a win.

That day, first-year head coach Dan Mullen was faced with a couple of decisions at the goal line. Each time, LSU had an answer – from a batted down pass by Chad Jones to a fourth-down goal-line tackle by linebacker Ryan Baker.

Two years later, Tigers coach Les Miles brings his team back to Starkville, this time to face Mullen and a more seasoned Bulldogs football team.

"Dan Mullen has done a terrific job there," Miles said Monday. "Any time you get into year two or three in a program, it is one of those things that is inherent where teaching stays with your players. I think they're executing much better."

Going back to last season, the Bulldogs have won nine of its last 12 games and have scored 30 points or more in five straight games. With an SEC-best 588 yards in total offense and an average of 46 points per game, State – winners against Memphis and losers at Auburn – is rolling fast on offense.

"You're going to see a multiple scheme running attack," Miles said. "I really felt like the Oregon attack, which was very capable, did not necessarily use scheme to its advantage. In this instance there is quality scheme. I think our guys are going to have to take the line of scrimmage. The nature of that offense is a physical brand."

Vick Ballard, who carried the ball 10 times for 166 yards and three touchdowns against Memphis and 21 times for 135 yards and a touchdown at Auburn, leads the Bulldogs on the ground.

Chris Relf returns to the quarterback position, a 6-foot-4, 245-pound dual-threat option who rushed for over 100 yards at Auburn and has passed for 397 yards and three touchdowns in the first two games combined.

"Vick Ballard is a very talented back and is very capable," Miles said. "He is averaging about 150 yards a game.

"Chris Relf is an all-around quarterback who has improved in his ability to throw the football and rush it … He is throwing the ball better. He is the field general that you want. He is a physical runner and handles the ball well. He does all of those things that you need to have happen at the quarterback spot."

Last week against Auburn, Relf was stopped on a keeper at the goal line with no time left – and the Bulldogs lost. This week, Miles knows he's facing a motivated squad coming off a short week of preparation, meaning the sour taste of defeat is still fresh.

"They come off a difficult contest with Auburn," Miles said. "You know they are going to play hard and that they have a great scheme.

"I told our guys that there are three pieces: One, as a conference game this is a very key contest. Two, we're putting in a game plan in less time. Three we have to improve. I think our guys understood that. They went to practice on Sunday with great enthusiasm."

On Thursday night, Miles looks to stay perfect against Mississippi State, which he attributes to hard work put in every game week by his staff and players.

"I think the reason is because we give great respect to our opponents," Miles said. "We prepare very sincerely. When you look at them on film, the coach doesn't have to do any convincing. Everyone see that they are a very talented and capable team.

"We're going to have to play well to win."

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