Mississippi State hopes to see where it stands in SEC, visits LSU

Mississippi State rolled through its nonconference schedule.

LSU bounced back from a disappointing start to overwhelm an outmanned opponent.

Now both teams will get a better idea of where they stand when the Bulldogs visit the Tigers in the SEC opener for both teams in Baton Rouge, La., on Saturday.

Mississippi State (2-0) cruised to a pair of wins to open its season, beating Memphis 49-23 and Arizona 39-17 while trailing for a total of just 7:30 between the two contests.

But it has had lulls, allowing Memphis to score 20 points in a span of four second-half possessions and turning the ball over three times when it had a chance to pull away from Arizona earlier than it did.

“Our answer to problems lately is to play hard,” Bulldogs head coach Mike Leach said. “Which I think is a good thing.”

Bulldogs quarterback Will Rogers leads the nation in completions per game (38.5), is tied for second in passing touchdowns (nine) and third in average passing yards (381.5). He’s also brought a lot of variety to the offense, throwing touchdown passes to six different receivers.

Mississippi State and LSU are tied for second in the SEC in scoring (44.0 points per game), though the Tigers’ average is skewed by the 65 points they scored against FCS opponent Southern last Saturday.

LSU head coach Brian Kelly said “everything is heightened” this week because of the presence of an SEC opponent.

Jayden Daniels became the first quarterback in LSU history to pass for 200 yards and rush for 100 in a game that ends in regulation in the Tigers’ 24-23 loss to Florida State on Sept. 4. Last week he threw three touchdown passes and ran for another while playing just over a quarter in the blowout win.

“He has been efficient and there’s still growth that can happen there,” Kelly said. “His demeanor on the sideline is that he takes in info and moves on.”

LSU hopes its running game receives a boost from the return of starting running back John Emery, who hasn’t played since the end of the 2020 season because of academic issues.

–Field Level Media