As it so frequently does, Saturday’s contest between the LSU Tigers and the Mississippi State Bulldogs will come down to the quarterback position.
LSU’s Joe Burrow and Mississippi State’s Nick Fitzgerald both provide a threat on the ground, but one signal-caller is much more reliable in the air.
Here’s how the two stack up.
First Impression: Joe Burrow looked like himself again in Saturday’s rebound win against the Georgia Bulldogs.
He’s still telling us he doesn’t want to slide, and to an extent, we’re becoming more okay with that.
We’re also continuing to see more use of mobility from Burrow, as he’s just as much of an asset to the run game as running backs Nick Brossette and Clyde Edwards-Helaire are. Burrow totals 58 carries for 242 yards rushing this season, with four rushing touchdowns.
He remains an equally smart passer, having thrown only two interceptions this season. Winning the turnover battle has proven crucial in many games, so Burrow’s accuracy just makes him that much more phenomenal under center.
Last showing: vs. Georgia, W 36-16
Burrow was 15-of-30 passes for 200 yards in the home victory against the Bulldogs. He was a significant factor in the ground game as well, recording 13 carries for 66 yards and two touchdowns.
Bottom line for Saturday: Burrow’s in for another good showing Saturday, granted the Tigers can hold off the Bulldogs’ pass rush. To beat Burrow, the Bulldogs will need to follow the blueprint set by Florida to kill the Tigers’ rushing attack and really get in the quarterback’s face to force a costly turnover.
First Impression: Nick Fitzgerald may be able to run like Joe Burrow, but he can’t throw like Joe Burrow.
The Bulldogs’ quarterback does the most damage when given the opportunity to be mobile, breaking the SEC record for rushing yards by a quarterback last weekend against Auburn.
This season, he totals 98 carries for 513 yards rushing and seven rushing touchdowns.
Fitzgerald is not exactly the most reliable passer, though, at 61-of-123 passes for 709 yards, three interceptions and four touchdowns. Expect the Bulldogs to rely on a solid run game this weekend.
Last showing: vs. Auburn, W 23-9
Fitzgerald was 9-of-17 passes for 69 yards and an interception in Saturday’s win over the Tigers. He was also the team’s leading rusher, racking up 28 carries for 195 yards and two touchdowns.
Bottom line for Saturday: The Tigers are going to have to force Fitzgerald to throw the ball if they want to throw a wrench in the Bulldogs’ plans on offense Saturday. The team is also going to have to make sure Fitzgerald doesn’t get the opportunity to make plays with his legs, as Fitzgerald presents the same danger the Tigers’ own signal-caller does to opponents.