Tyler Wilson and the Bulldogs look to end their two-game skid vs. the Tigers
Tyler Wilson and the Mississippi State Bulldogs head into Baton Rouge with upset on their minds this weekend. The Bulldogs offense has sputtered recently; they have struggled to put points on the board, losing their last two games.
LSU is coming off a big loss to the Crimson Tide and could suffer a slow start due to the emotional letdown of last week. What kind of toll will last week's battle with the Tide take on the Tigers as the Bulldogs roll into Death Valley this weekend?
With a chip on their shoulder as they enter into Death Valley, Tyler Russell and the Mississippi State Bulldogs will take to the field with something to prove. They will do so as they light up the LSU Tigers on Saturday night.
Here's four reasons why Russell and the Bulldogs will walk away victorious after Saturday night's game.
Russell will rebound this week and take advantage of a drained LSU defense
Early in the season, Tyler Russell looked dominant—to say the least. Through the first seven games of the season, Russell threw 16 touchdown passes while only throwing one interception. While some might cite the lack of quality defenses as the reasoning behind Russell's early-season successes, whatever he was doing worked.
Russell was producing results and winning games like not many recent Bulldog quarterbacks had before him in recent history. One key to his success early on was his ability to spread the ball around to his receivers.
Chad Bumphis and Chris Smith have led the way for the Bulldogs this season with 34 and 33 receptions, respectively.
The Bulldogs biggest scoring threat on their receiving corps is neither of those top two receivers, though. Marcus Green has five touchdowns on 17 receptions for the Bulldogs so far this season.
Russell has shown this season that he has the brains and ability to be a game-changing quarterback. His knowledge of the game and ability to make smart decisions has made him a very dangerous player for MSU this season. If he is able to regain his early season form, the tigers should be weary.
The Bulldogs need to regroup this week to overcome their problems from last weeks loss.
Coming into this match on a two-game losing streak, the MSU Bulldogs are looking to regroup and show that they are one of the SEC's better teams with a big win in Death Valley.
MSU has not won in Death Valley in some time, but this season the timing as well as several other factors are just right for the Bulldogs to walk out with a victory.
After starting the season off 7-0, MSU has dropped their last two games to ranked SEC opponents (Alabama and Texas A&M). During those first seven games, the Bulldogs offense was running like a well oiled machine. Since Week 8, the offense has sputtered and struggled to be as efficient as it once was.
While the LSU defense is no laughing matter, there are two factors that will allow the Bulldogs to work efficiently to take down the Tigers
1. LSU is tired coming off a heartbreaking, physical loss to Alabama
2. The Bulldogs know that their time to make an impression is running out. If they want to prove that they can compete with the SEC's best they need to prove so this week.
In the end, Mississippi State will play the game with more desire and desperation. Simply put: The Bulldogs need this victory more than the Tigers do.
Mettenberger has been good for the Tigers this season but does not pose a threat like Manziel or McCarron
The Tigers Jr. signal-caller has been stellar so far this season. He has not been spectacular, though. Zach Mettenberger has lacked the game-changer ability that players like Johnny Manziel and AJ McCarron have. Manziel and McCarron both ended up giving the Bulldog defense more than they could handle as their skill set was just too much.
Mettenberger has not shown the ability to dominate games like either of those aforementioned players have. So far this season, the Bulldogs have done a good job of containing the ordinary quarterbacks. It is the extraordinary ones that have given them problems.
The State defense is giving up just under 20 points a game so far this season. They have played strong forcing turnovers and wreaking havoc in opponents backfields. Mettenberger has been known to make poor decisions when getting flustered and rushed out of the pocket this season.
While Mississippi State is not a defensive juggernaut, they are strong enough to force Mettenberger into making enough bad decisions to cost the Tigers the game. In a game where the turnover battle will be key, the Bulldogs will come out on top because of their ability to take the ball away and force terrible decisions to be made.
Perkins will need to return to his pre-Alabama form Saturday
LaDarius Perkins shocked the SEC by coming into the Bulldogs Week 7 matchup with Alabama as the SEC's leading rusher. Since that game, his play has fallen off mightily as he has only rushed for 80 yards and zero touchdowns in the past two weeks.
If Perkins and the Bulldogs want to shock the SEC again by walking out of Death Valley victorious, they will need the running game to reemerge. Defensively, LSU has been stellar all season but on any given week anything can happen.
The Tigers will pay some attention to stopping the run; however, most their attention will be directed toward the efficient, effective passing of Tyler Russell. In order for Russell to be able to manage efficiently and keep the crowd out of the game, Perkins needs to step up in a big way.
Mississippi State has a chance to pull off a huge upset this weekend as they go on the road to take on the LSU Tigers, but they are not going to be able to do it unless both parts of their offense are working.