Last week Stat Watch said it would take LSU’s best effort to beat Georgia, but a dip from the Georgia defense meant there was an opening there for the Tigers to take advantage of. That is indeed how it played out, with the Tigers playing their best game maybe since 11/4/11, and dropping 36 points on the Georgia D. It was an exemplary effort even if Georgia may not be as good as the stats said. Now we shift our focus to Mississippi State, and with a full bevy of data for this season we can close the book on last year’s numbers and dive fully into this year to see how Saturday could shake out.
A note on these stats: The offensive and defensive S&P+ marks are calculated as adjusted scoring averages and for the situational ratings, above 100 is good and below 100 is bad. Links to an explanation on the various stats here, here and here:
|S&P Percentile||88.4% (15th)||88.4% (14th)|
|Off. S&P+||31.4 (47th)||31.7 (43rd)|
|Off. Passing||94.2 (95th)||105.9 (41st)|
|Off. Rushing||130.1 (1st)||101.6 (60th)|
|Def. S&P+||17.9 (10th)||18.9 (13th)|
|Def. Passing||106.7 (38th)||108.8 (28th)|
|Def. Rushing||161.8 (1st)||97.1 (87th)|
|FEI||.153 (20th)||.263 (1st)|
|F/+||40.8% (15th)||46.5% (8th)|
As S&P+ says it, no one is better in college football in the run game than Mississippi State. They run it better than anyone, they stop the run better than anyone. For a team that is as mediocre in the run game as LSU is in S&P+, that feels like a potentially huge lopsided match-up. But, LSU is coming off a game in which they ran for 275 yards, albeit did have some struggles at times against Georgia. The key though could be Mississippi State’s incredibly porous pass offense, which is 95th. This could allow LSU to stack the box and go all out to stop the run and force Nick Fitzgerald, a dreadful passer to beat them. LSU is much more balanced on offense, and if they are to win, it’ll be maintaining that balance as opposed to MSU’s one-dimensionality that will do it. It’s also worth pointing out how well LSU fares in Brian Fremeau’s rankings, currently #1 in the country.