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Playing Nice: For Whom the Cowbell Tolls

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Landon Young gets us ready for a game that absolutely no one in Starkville is excited for

For Whom the Cowbell Tolls

LSU is riding high after a statement win over the Florida Gators this past Saturday.

The 42-28 win pushed the Tigers up to No. 2 in the AP Poll and No. 3 in the Coaches’ Poll. Up next for LSU (6-0, 2-0) are the Bulldogs of Mississippi State (3-3, 1-2) a team that, well...it’s not great at the moment. The Bulldogs are on a two-game losing streak, allowing Auburn to score 56 points on them September 28 and then losing a hideous game to Tennessee last week 20-10.

Nonetheless, CBS will be headed to Davis Wade Stadium to showcase the No. 2 ranked Tigers and the Bulldogs who are also a football team. Joining us to preview State is For Whom the Cowbell Tolls is site editor Landon Young, who you can find on Twitter at @Foreveryoung96.

1. The headline on For Whom The Cowbell Tolls after the Bulldogs lost to Tennessee was “REAL BAD”; Clanga Twitter was, shall we say, less than thrilled when it was announced Saturday’s game was assigned CBS’ 2:30 spot, and the people want Joe Moorhead out. So...I guess things aren’t going too well in Starkville huh?

Negative. It’s a REAL BAD vibe in Starkville right now. That 2:30 slot where everyone in the country will be watching isn’t helping anything either.

2. State’s living in a post Nick Fitzgerald-world and it’s showing. The Bulldogs are 12th in the league in yards per game, 11th in scoring and dead last in passing yards per game. Is this all solely on Fitzgerald graduating or is there a bigger issue beyond that?

Way. Bigger. Issue. Everyone said that once Nick Fitzgerald left the offense, then Joe Moorhead’s offense would click. Welp. That’s the biggest lie I’ve ever heard. Fitzgerald certainly helped Moorhead’s offense. It’s pretty obvious that Joe Moorhead’s offense doesn’t really work in the SEC.

3. The Bulldogs have been going back and forth on which quarterback to go with. They’ve bounced back and forth between true freshman Garrett Shrader and Tommy Stevens, a grad transfer from Penn State. Stevens has been both injured and ineffective and now Shrader’s been named the starter. What does Shrader bring that Stevens doesn’t?

Garrett Shrader needs to be the guy from here on out. I’m not saying Tommy Stevens is a bad football player, but the team just seems to rally around Shrader. He seems to have a better running ability than Stevens, and this past Saturday it looked like he had a better passing game too. Garrett is 1-0 when playing start to finish, and I think he gives you a better chance to win in all of your SEC games.

4. So Mississippi State is caught up in a pretty bizarre academic fraud case. We know ten players will be suspended eight games, but due to a FERPA law the school cannot announce the details of the incident; and, weirdly enough, State can actually choose which eight games the players will be suspended for. I mean...what? That’s got to be causing the upmost kind of chaos right?

Yeah, it’s all kinds of weird. The weirdest thing being that Moorhead and the staff actually gets to choose when each player can play. Lots of fans were frustrated to not see some of the suspended players play against Auburn, but hey, looking back on it, Moorhead obviously knew his team didn’t have shot. This brings up another odd aspect to things; when Moorhead decides that he is not going to play the suspended players, isn’t that sort of looking at your team and saying, “We have no chance so these guys will not play.” All in all a weird subject to touch on, but don’t expect to see the suspended players on Saturday.

5. The Bulldogs defense ranks 10th in the SEC in both yards allowed and pass defense, and 11th in stopping the run and points allowed. How is Mississippi State going to try and stop this LSU offense that ranks near the top in just about every single offensive statistic?

Zachary... Tiger Nation... And The Valley Shook... I have no clue.

6. Kylin Hill has been a bright spot for the Bulldogs this year. Hill is the second leading rusher in the conference with 609 yards on 5.1 yards a touch. But the past two weeks against Auburn and Tennessee he’s rushed for a combined 70 yards and LSU has the second best run defense in the league. Will Hill look more like the guy that got him sitting atop the rushing leader board or the one who’s averaged 2.5 yards a touch the past two games?

Kylin Hill cannot get anything going on the ground because the play calls do not help him. Hill is an outside running back. 85% of Moorhead’s play calls for Kylin are a counter run right up the gut. So no, Hill will probably not look more like the guy, but that’s not his fault.

7. The Bulldogs are 3-3 and the schedule is only going to get tougher from here on out. Am I a pessimist if I don’t see a bowl game in State’s future? The Dogs have LSU Saturday then road trips to College Station and Fayetteville (Moorhead is 1-5 on the road) before three straight home games against Alabama, Abilene Christian, and Ole Miss. Can Mississippi State pull out three more wins and keep its bowl appearance streak going?

No, you are not a pessimist. It looks like there is no hope. BUT, if they somehow come out of the 2019 season with six wins they will be over Abilene Christian, Arkansas, and Ole Miss, but I think you already knew that.