#5 LSU Looks to Sharpen Up Against #22 Mississippi State

Is it just me, or is Foster Moreau starting to look like Tom Hardy in Venom?

The LSU Tigers will look to clean up a few things in what should be a win against Mississippi State. Yes, it was totally glorious that LSU was 4-4 on 4th Down last week against Georgia, but they still struggle on 3rd down mightily, at just under 37% on the year. That won't be good enough against Alabama.

Joe Burrow needs to continue to make quicker decisions, and he needs to get a WR not named Justin Jefferson involved. It seemed like everyone was going to eat after the first 3 weeks of the season, but Jefferson has run away with the lion's share. Burrow has been running the ball more and more as the season has progressed which has bailed him out, but he needs to sharpen up in the pass game if we're going to take Alabama seriously.

He still struggles with 50% completion percentage, which has been a consistent average from week to week. His confidence and potential is undeniable, but I won't be confident for next week unless he shows me improved efficiency tonight.

LSU has done a much better job in protecting the football in recent weeks, which has coincided with the emergence of RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Look for him to continue to be the lightning in this committee with fellow RB Nick Brossette as they limit Burrow's chances to make mistakes by running down opponent's throats.

Mississippi State DE Montez Sweat and DT Jeffery Simmons  are the biggest threats coming Burrow and company's way. Sweat had three tackles for a loss and three sacks last week against Auburn. Simmons is a freak in the weight room, coming off a First Team All-SEC season last year. He's overdue for a big game this season.

On the other side of the trenches, LSU freshman guard Chasen Hines will be making his first career start. It will be telling to see how he handles Mississippi's State's pressure. The Tigers have relied heavily on the run in recent weeks and they will get a true test against this 19th ranked Mississippi State run defense and 14th ranked pass defense.

Mississippi State's offense is reminiscent of LSU's: run first, pass later.

It all starts with their QB Nick Fitzgerald, who is averaging over 21 rushes a game the past three weeks, but he hasn't always found success, getting stifled by both Florida and Kentucky. He bounced back last week with 28 rushes for 195 yards and 2 TDs, along with 69 yards through the air on 9-17 passing in the Bulldogs win over Auburn. His passing stats have been lackluster to say the least when it comes to conference play, and that shouldn't change tonight in Tiger stadium.

Mississippi State RB Kylin Hill is putting together a respectable year, but his stats are skewed by two monster outings: wins at Kansas State and at home against Auburn. Hill hasn't found the end zone since all the way back on September 8th.

The Bulldogs have a trio of big-body types at the top of their receiver list, with Osirus Mitchell leading the bunch, but they won't have enough chances to do much of anything in Baton Rouge. State will be grounding and pounding early on, and I don't think they are going to be in panic mode until late in the game. LSU has given up big plays to lesser opponents this year, but they've clamped down in recent weeks. If this game is still contentious midway through the 3rd quarter, then maybe you see this group make some plays on the LSU defense, specifically in possession scenarios, but it's just hard to imagine after watching the Tigers suffocate Georgia.

Look for Grant Delpit and Devin White to absolutely terrorize this Mississippi State offense. I expect a lot of upfront action at the line of scrimmage with Delpit and White, and things should be taken care of behind and over the top with Greedy Williams blanketing Osirus Mitchell all game. If LSU's offense can sustain drives, this defense won't allow many chances for the Bulldogs to put points on the board.

LSU's defense should be the MVP of this game, giving the Tiger offense ample opportunities to piece together a few scoring drives for the victory.

Recap: What Needs to Improve

  • 3rd Down Efficiency
  • Pass Completion Percentage

Hey, what do you know? The College GameDay Crew is finally believing...

- A Weary Traveler

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