LSU enters the contest with a 3-2 overall mark and a 1-2 record in league play, while State is 1-4 overall and 0-3 in SEC action. LSU is 1-1 on the road this season and the Tigers haven't won back-to-back SEC road games in the same season since 1997 when they beat Kentucky and Alabama in consecutive weeks.
LAST MINUTE HEROICS LIFTS LSU PAST KENTUCKY, 29-25: Rohan Davey fired a 6-yard touchdown pass to true freshman Michael Clayton with just 13 seconds remaining as the LSU Tigers rallied for a dramatic 29-25 win over Kentucky in Lexington. Davey threw for a career-high 383 yards ? the third best performance in LSU history - while Clayton caught a career-high nine passes for 105 yards and two touchdowns.
Josh Reed caught eight balls for 160 yards and on the ground, LaBrandon Toefield piled up 129 yards. The Tigers built a 19-3 lead in the second quarter behind a 34-yard touchdown from Toefield and a 9-yard TD pass from Davey to Clayton. With LSU leading 22-10 in the third quarter, Kentucky brought in back-up quarterback Jared Lorenzen who rallied the Cats to back-to-back touchdowns, giving Kentucky a 25-22 lead with just under nine minutes remaining before LSU rallied.
Date/Time: Saturday, Oct. 20 at 8 p.m. (CT)
Location: Starkville, Miss. (Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field - 45,286)
Television: ESPN2 (Live)
The Series: LSU leads 58-33-3
Last Meeting: LSU, 45-38, on Oct. 21, 2000 in Baton Rouge
THE SERIES: LSU and MSU meet for the 95th time with the Tigers holding a 58-33-3 advantage in the series which dates back to the 1896 ... LSU won the first-ever meeting between the teams, 52-0, in Baton Rouge in 1896 ... LSU has won eight of the last nine and 13 of the last 16 meetings against the Bulldogs, including last year's 45-38 overtime win in Baton Rouge ... The series is even at 6-6-2 in games played in Starkville ... MSU last beat LSU in 1999 by a 17-16 count in Starkville ... Prior to that, LSU had posted four straight wins over State in Starkville ... LSU coach Nick Saban is 1-0 vs. Mississippi State.
LSU FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: LSU plays its second straight road game, and third in its last four outings, against Mississippi State in Starkville on Saturday ... LSU is 1-1 on the road this season ... LSU will be looking to win back-to-back road games in the same season for the first time since 1997 when the Tigers beat Kentucky and Alabama on the road in consecutive weeks ... The Kentucky and Alabama victories were actually wins Nos. 3 and 4 in what was a perfect 4-0 road record for the Tigers in 1997 ... LSU has scored 20 or more points in all 11 of its victories under Nick Saban ... On the other hand, the Tigers are 0-6 under Saban when failing to reach the 20 point mark ... LSU is 8-2 under Saban, including a 3-1 mark this year, when scoring first ... LSU is also 9-1 under Saban (3-1 in 2001) when leading at halftime and the Tigers are 8-0 under Saban (3-0 in 2001) when leading after three quarters ... Over his last 11 games (including the 2000 Peach Bowl), LSU QB Rohan Davey has thrown 19 TD passes compared to just four interceptions ... LSU hasn't been shutout since the Alabama game on Nov. 9, 1996 - a span of 55 games ... LSU RB LaBrandon Toefield has rushed for nine TDs in just five games this year, becoming the fastest Tiger to reach that mark in school history .... The Tigers are 2-0 this season, 5-0 under Saban, and 37-9 since 1990 when an LSU running back rushes for 100 yards in a game ... Overall, LSU has won seven straight games when having a 100-yard rusher.
MORE ON THE LSU-MISSISSIPPI STATE SERIES: LSU and Mississippi State have met every year since 1944 ... The teams first met in 1896 in Baton Rouge ... LSU's 58 wins over the Bulldogs are the most by the Tigers over any SEC team ... Despite it being the 95th meeting in the series, this game will mark just the 15th between the teams in Starkville, and only the eighth trip to MSU's campus by the Tigers since 1926 ... From 1926 to 1980 the teams played in either Baton Rouge or Jackson, Miss., except in 1932 and 1933 when the teams played in Monroe, La. ... Of the 14 previous meetings in Starkville, nine of the games have been decided by six points or less, including the 1999 game in which MSU won, 17-16.
WHO'S IN AND WHO'S OUT FOR THE TIGERS: Senior cornerback Robert Davis (knee) is more than likely out for the remainder of the season. Davis was injured in the Utah State contest and hasn't played since. He is likely to undergo surgery to repair his knee in the next couple of weeks. Senior right guard Dwayne Pierce (ankle) and sophomore running back Devery Henderson (ankle) are both listed as questionable for the Mississippi State contest. Both players were hurt against Florida and neither one made the trip to Kentucky. They are listed as day-to-day.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR LSU: The Tigers return home to face Ole Miss. Four of LSU's last five games will be played at home in Tiger Stadium. After a road trip to face Alabama on Nov. 3, the Tigers close their regular-season with home games against Middle Tennessee (Nov. 10), Arkansas (Nov. 23) and Auburn (Dec. 1).
TIGERS POST FIRST LAST MINUTE GAME-WINNING DRIVE SINCE 1993: When Rohan Davey hit Michael Clayton for a 6-yard TD strike with just 13 seconds remaining in regulation, it marked the first time the Tigers won a game in the final minute of play (overtime not included) since Andre LaFleur kicked a 26-yard field goal with 10 seconds remaining to beat Mississippi State in Starkville in 1993.
The last time the Tigers had a last-minute game-winning TD came in 1987 when Eddie Fuller scored from 20 yards out with 46 seconds left to lift LSU to a 41-36 win over Tulane in New Orleans.
On the Tigers final drive against Kentucky, Rohan Davey completed 8 of 9 passes for 86 yards. Clayton caught four passes for 46 yards during the drive.
TIGER OFFENSE ON RECORD PACE: LSU is on pace to break some of the school's most prestigious offensive records all in the same season. With 1,375 yards passing through five games, quarterback Rohan Davey is on pace to become the Tigers' first 3,000-yard passer and break the single season LSU record of 2,655 by Tommy Hodson in 1989. Davey is on pace for 3,025 yards.
On the other end of Davey's passes, Josh Reed is averaging 133.4 yards per game and is on pace for 1,467 yards which would easily outdistance the 1,244 by Wendell Davis in 1986.
With nine rushing touchdowns in five games, LaBrandon Toefield is on pace for nearly 20 which would surpass the 17 registered by Charles Alexander in 1977.
As a unit, the LSU offense is averaging 464.2 yards per game, which is on pace to break the school record of 440.3 yards per contest set by the 1987 team. Through five games, LSU has accumulated 2,321 yards of total offense, put the Tigers on pace to break the school-record of 4,843 yards held by the 1987 team.
DAVEY COMES UP WITH CAREER NIGHT: Rohan Davey came up with a career-best 383 yards passing in the Tigers' 29-25 victory over Kentucky last weekend. The total was the third highest in LSU history and the highest passing total ever in a Tiger win. Davey now has two of the top six performances in LSU history in his last three outings. In addition, Davey also set a career high with 27 completions, surpassing the 23 he posted against Tennessee in 2000. The total was the most since Josh Booty threw 29 in a 41-7 loss to Auburn in Baton Rouge on Sept. 18, 1999. It ranks seventh on the LSU all-time list (record: 33 by Jeff Wickersham versus Mississippi State in 1983).
DAVEY TIES LSU RECORD FOR MOST CAREER 300-YARD GAMES: With 383 yards passing, Rohan Davey posted the third 300-yard game of his career, matching the school record for career 300-yard games. Davey matched former Tiger signal-caller Jamie Howard, who posted three 300-yard passing games between 1992-95. All three of Davey's 300-yard games have come in his last seven starts.
DAVEY CLOSES IN ON TOP 10 PASSING YARDAGE: With 2,443 career passing yards, Rohan Davey is closing in on becoming the newest member of the LSU top 10 passing yardage list. Davey needs 83 yards to pass legendary NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Y.A. Tittle for 10th place (2,525 from 1944-47). Davey is averaging 275 yards per game through the better part of five games. With 1,375 yards passing, he became the first Tiger to reach 1,000 yards in the fifth game of the season since Jamie Howard in 1995.
REED MOVES TO FIFTH ON ALL-TIME LSU RECEIVING LIST: Junior receiver Josh Reed moved into fifth place on LSU's all-time receiving yards list in the Tigers' last outing, passing Abram Booty (1,768 from 1997-2000) and Todd Kinchen (1,911 from 1989-92) with a total of 1,928. Reed needs 68 yards to pass Andy Hamilton (1,995 from 1969-71) for fourth place all-time and 72 to become the fourth Tiger to surpass the 2,000-yard mark. Reed is averaging an SEC-leading 133.4 yards per game and 6.4 receptions per game through five games this season. Reed's current average of 133.4 yards per game ranks third in the nation and puts the junior on pace to break the SEC record of 132.9 held by Florida's Carlos Alvarez in 1969. Last year, Reed averaged 102.5 yards per game, which ranks ninth all-time in SEC history.
REED, 100-YARD GAMES GO HAND-AND-HAND: With 160 yards receiving in the victory over Kentucky, Josh Reed surpassed the 100-yard mark for the 12th time in his career (in only 19 regular season games at the position). Reed moved closer to the LSU school record of 13 career 100-yard games by Wendell Davis from 1984-87. It marked the fifth 100-yard contest in as many games this season for Reed. It was also the eighth 100-yard game for the junior in his last 10 regular season games. The 160 yards were the third highest total of his career, trailing only the 173-yard and 167-yard performances he posted a year ago against Ole Miss and Auburn respectively. LSU is 8-4 when Reed has 100 yards or more receiving in a game.
REED, BIG PLAYS GO TOGETHER NICELY: With a 31-yard reception from Rohan Davey in the first quarter and then a 49-yard reception in the second quarter, Reed has now recorded nine receptions of 25 yards or longer this season.
CLAYTON SERVES NOTICE: Over the past three weeks, Michael Clayton has quickly emerged as a strong compliment to receiver Josh Reed. The true freshman from Baton Rouge had career-highs of nine receptions for 105 yards and two touchdowns in the Tigers' dramatic victory over Kentucky. Clayton hauled in the game-winning reception with just 13 seconds remaining to lift LSU to victory. On the Tigers final drive, Clayton came up huge, catching four passes for 46 yards. Three of his four catches came on third down while his other was an 18-yard grab on second-and-19 after Davey had been sacked the previous play. In his last three games, Clayton has caught 17 passes for 277 yards and three touchdowns and for the season, he's caught 20 passes for 315 yards and three TDs.
REED AND CLAYTON BOTH GO OVER 100 IN VICTORY OVER KENTUCKY: Against Kentucky, Josh Reed posted a season-best 160 yards, while true freshman Michael Clayton recorded a career-best 105 yards marking the first time since last year's victory over Mississippi State on Oct. 21 that two Tigers had 100-yard receiving games in the same game. In the game against Mississippi State last year, Reed and Reggie Robinson both went over the century mark, posting 113 and 102 yards respectively.
TIGERS RECORD FIRST IN VICTORY OVER KENTUCKY: The Tigers established a first in their victory over Kentucky in their last outing. It marked the first time LSU history in which the Tigers had a 300-yard passer (Rohan Davey, 383), a 100-yard rusher (LaBrandon Toefield, 129) and two 100-yard receivers (Josh Reed, 160; Michael Clayton, 105) in the same game.
THIRD QUARTER WOES FOR THE TIGERS CONTINUE AT KENTUCKY: Scoring in the third quarter has become somewhat of a problem for LSU over the first five games of the season as the Tigers have managed only seven points in third quarter this year. LSU's only third quarter score came in the season-opener against Tulane. This season, the Tigers have had 14 third quarter possessions with just one resulting in a TD.
LSU's best scoring quarter is the second quarter as the Tigers have put 60 points on the board during that stanza. In the second quarter alone, LSU has outscored its opposition 60-29. The Tigers have also outscored the opposition 38-29 in the fourth quarter. Through five games, LSU has scored 141 points for an average of 28.2 points a contest.
TOEFIELD CONTINUES TO LEAD THE SEC IN SCORING: LaBrandon Toefield continues to lead the SEC in scoring as the sophomore running back scored his ninth TD of the season on Saturday against Kentucky. Through five games, Toefield has scored 54 points for an average of 10.8 a contest, a number that ranks seventh nationally.
TOEFIELD SURPASSES 1,000-YARD CAREER MARK: Sophomore running back LaBrandon Toefield surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for his career on his 34-yard touchdown run to open the scoring in the first quarter. Toefield entered the game with 983 career yards (the total reached 1,112 by game's end).
TOEFIELD FASTEST IN LSU HISTORY TO NINE TOUCHDOWNS: On his 34-yard touchdown run early in the first quarter, Toefield became the fastest Tiger to reach nine touchdowns, doing so in his fifth game of the season. Charles Alexander (1977) and Dalton Hilliard (1984) both reached nine touchdowns in the sixth game of the season. This weekend he can match Charles Alexander for the fastest Tiger to double-figure touchdowns, as Alexander reached the feat in his sixth game of the season in 1977.
TIGERS SPREAD THE WEALTH IN PASSING GAME: One thing is for sure, LSU can never be accused of focusing on one receiver in its passing game as 12 different players - five split ends, four tight ends, two tailbacks and one fullback - have caught passes for the Tigers this season. Spreading the football around has become a trademark of the Jimbo Fisher offense as last year, 13 Tigers caught passes during the regular-season. The only Tiger with extensive game experience that has yet to catch a pass for the Tigers this year is running back Devery Henderson.
OFFENSIVE BALANCE CRITICAL TO TIGERS' SUCCESS: In the Tigers' victory over Kentucky, they did something they were not able to do in their previous two outings ? show offensive balance and reassert themselves with the run. The Tigers ran the ball 38 eight times and passed an identical 38 times. LaBrandon Toefield surpassed the 100-yard mark for the third time this season and the fifth time in his career. The Tigers improved to 5-0 when Toefield rushes for better than 100 yards. In addition, the Tigers improved to 37-9 since 1990 when rushing for better than 100 yards as a team. The 129 yards were a career high for Toefield in an SEC game, passing the 120 he registered against Tennessee last year.
20 POINTS THE MAGIC MARK: Since coming to LSU for the 2000 season, Nick Saban has posted a 11-6 record in Baton Rouge. In that time, the Tigers are 11-0 when scoring 20+ points and 0-6 when failing to reach that mark under Saban. This season, LSU has registered 48, 31, and 29 points in its three victories, while scoring only 18 and 15 in the two losses. In their seven regular season wins a year ago they averaged 36 points per game. In their four losses, they scored a total of 39 points. In LSU's three wins this season, the Tigers are averaging 36 points a contest. On the other hand, the Tigers are scoring an average of 16.5 points in their two defeats in 2001.
STREAKS TO NOTE: Senior free safety Ryan Clark made his 28th consecutive start last weekend, dating back to the start of the 1999 season (including last year's Peach Bowl) ... Junior Trev Faulk extended his consecutive starts streak to 25 games dating back to the fourth game of his freshman year in 1999 ... Jerel Myers has now started 27 of 28 career games with the lone exception being the 1999 season finale against Arkansas when the Tigers started in a three tight end alignment ... Josh Reed has caught at least one pass in all 20 games since moving to receiver prior to the Alabama game in 1999 ... Myers has a reception in 27 of 28 games in his three-year career ... The only game in which Myers did not catch at least one pass was the Tigers' victory over Ole Miss in Oxford in 2000.
LSU CONTINUES TO BE THE BEST IN THE LEAGUE ON THIRD DOWN: LSU continues to be the best in the SEC when it comes to third down situations as the Tigers have converted on 44 of their 78 third down opportunities this year for 56 percent. On Saturday vs. Kentucky, the Tigers were a remarkable 13 of 19 on third down situations. On LSU's game-winning drive, LSU converted all three of its third down attempts, which included the game winning score as Rohan Davey hit Michael Clayton on third-and-goal from the 6-yard line.
CORBELLO COMING INTO HIS OWN, PERFECT INSIDE 40: The 46-yard field goal by John Corbello in the closing minutes of the first half against Kentucky was his best effort of the season and the second best of his career. His career long was a 49-yarder in the Peach Bowl against Georgia Tech last year. Corbello hit 2-of-3 attempts against Kentucky (missed from 53) and is now 7-of-10 on the season and a perfect 5-for-5 inside 40 yards. Since the Arkansas game last year, Corbello has connected on 10 of his last 13 field goals with his only misses coming from 53, 49 and 41 yards.
DAMIEN JAMES STEPS UP IN SECONDARY: Damien James has developed into a critical part of the Tigers' secondary and he leads the SEC with four interceptions through five games this year. James had a pair of interceptions vs. Kentucky, the second two-interception game of his career. Last year, James had a pair of interceptions against Houston. James has now intercepted three passes over LSU's last two games. For his career, James has six interceptions.
LSU'S SPECIAL TEAMS COVERAGE HAS BEEN OUTSTANDING: LSU's special teams coverage continues to be outstanding as the Tigers are allowing just 14.5 yards per kickoff and only 3.5 yards per punt return. Against Kentucky, LSU kicked off four times and the Wildcats started inside their 20-yard line three times. On 22 kickoff returns this season, the Tigers have allowed only 20 yards or more just four times. LSU has kicked off 26 times this year and its opponent has started outside the 20-yard line only seven times.
PUNTER JONES' PLAY HAS BEEN CRITICAL: The play of sophomore punter Donnie Jones has been vital to the Tigers' success this season. Through five games, Jones is averaging 43.5 yards per punt, third in the SEC. Jones, who punts left-footed, punts a high ball with enough hang time which gives LSU's defenders the opportunity to get down field to be in position to make a play on the returner. As a team, the Tigers rank second in the SEC and fifth in the nation in net punting as they are averaging 41.3 per punt. Net punting takes a punters average and subtracts yards per return for the opposition. Auburn leads the league at 41.3 net yards per punt.
HOW LSU'S 2001 OPPONENTS HAVE FARED
Opponent Record Last Week This Week Tulane 2-5 def. TCU, 48-22 at UAB Utah State 0-5 Idle Idaho State Tennessee 3-1 Idle at Alabama Florida 5-1 lost Auburn, 23-20 Idle Kentucky 1-5 lost LSU, 29-25 at Georgia Mississippi State 1-4 lost Troy State, 21-9 LSU Ole Miss 4-1 def. Alabama, 27-24 Middle Tennessee Alabama 3-3 lost Ole Miss, 27-24 Tennessee Middle Tennessee 5-1 lost North Texas, 24-21 at Ole Miss Arkansas 3-2 def. So. Carolina, 10-7 Idle Auburn 5-1 def. Florida, 23-20 Louisiana Tech
def. TCU, 48-22
lost Auburn, 23-20
lost LSU, 29-25
lost Troy State, 21-9
def. Alabama, 27-24
lost Ole Miss, 27-24
lost North Texas, 24-21
at Ole Miss
def. So. Carolina, 10-7
def. Florida, 23-20