Louisiana State heads east across the mighty Mississippi River to face the Mississippi State Bulldogs on Saturday, one week after losing a tough road game against Georgia.
It was the first loss of the season for the Tigers, moving them to 4-1 on the season.
With difficult games coming up against Florida, Ole Miss, Alabama and Texas A&M later this year, LSU cannot afford to take the Bulldogs lightly.
Quarterback Zach Mettenberger has come alive under the tutelage of new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron this year, and the Tigers now feature an offense to match their defense, scoring 42.8 points per game this year.
Mississippi State comes into the game with a record of 2-2, and its two losses were against superior teams. Oklahoma State held the Bulldogs to just three points to open the season, while Auburn won by four points at home two games later.
The Bulldogs aren't favored in this game at home, and LSU certainly has a better team on paper.
But that's why they play the games—anything can happen.
When: Saturday, Oct. 5, at 7 p.m. ET
Where: Davis Wade Stadium, Starkville, Miss.
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Betting Lines (via Covers)
- Over/Under: 54.5 pts.
- Spread: Mississippi State (+9.5)
LSU Tigers Injury Report (via USA Today)
Questionable: Jeryl Brazil, DB (personal); Tahj Jones, LB (hamstring)
Mississippi State Bulldogs Injury Report (via USA Today)
Out: Justin Malone, OL (leg)
Questionable: Ferlando Bohanna, LB (concussion); Tyler Russell, QB (concussion); Dee Arrington, DB (undisclosed); Nickoe Whitley, DB (undisclosed)
Can Mississippi State Shut Down Zach Mettenberger?
Mettenberger didn't look like an NFL-caliber quarterback last season. He struggled with consistency, completing just 58.8 percent of his passes, and threw just 12 touchdowns with seven interceptions.
Through five games in 2013, he's already surpassed last year's production, throwing 13 touchdowns, and his decision-making and accuracy have improved dramatically.
Some big names at the next level have taken notice, and you can be sure pro scouts are taking notice too. Albert Breer noted recently that Cameron has had a big influence on the quarterback, and Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com commented about his perceived value at the next level:
Zach Mettenberger looks like a completely different quarterback under Cam Cameron.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) September 28, 2013
Zach Mettenberger is making a LOT of money today.— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) September 28, 2013
If Mettenberger has another big game like last weekend's outing against Georgia, then Mississippi State will certainly lose.
The Bulldogs have done a nice job to this point in the season keeping their opponents from making big plays through the air. Featuring the No. 33-ranked pass defense, Mississippi State has allowed just 189.8 yards per game and just four total touchdowns.
With the home crowd cheering them on, the Bulldogs could stun LSU, provided the defense forces Mettenberger into an off game.
After losing to Georgia last weekend, Les Miles will have his Tigers itching for action.
LSU will come out with excellent focus and will silence the Bulldogs faithful with an early score. Mettenberger is playing with supreme confidence right now, bolstered by the faith Cameron continues to show in him.
Which team will win?
Mississippi State's offense beat up on Alcorn State and Troy, but it couldn't get the job done against tougher competition. The swarming defense of LSU will keep quarterback Dak Prescott dazed and confused throughout the contest, leading to at least one turnover.
The Tigers will take control of the game before halftime and cruise to victory No. 5 on the season.
LSU wins 38-21
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