No. 14 LSU (1-1) will travel to Starkville, Mississippi to play Mississippi State (2-0) at 11 a.m. Saturday morning on ESPN.
Nobody has played the Tigers more than the Bulldogs as the two programs will meet each other for the 117th time. Interestingly, the only school that has played Mississippi State more than in-state rivals Ole Miss is LSU.
For LSU, this will be another tough game as the Bulldogs have often tested the Tigers in the last 10 to 15 years. If LSU wants to get back on the right track, the Tigers have to win this game.
Here are three things LSU must do to avoid the upset.
The Secondary Needs to Step it up
Going into the season, everyone knew the secondary was going to be a concern. However, nobody knew it was going to be this bad.
LSU is allowing 258 yards per game through the air, which is good for 100th out of 130 teams. That’s not very good.
LSU still hasn’t figured out its rotation at cornerback as there is very little depth after Zy Alexander, Duce Chestnutt, Denver Harris and Ashton Stamps. They even had to move safety Sage Ryan over to cornerback due to their evident struggles during fall camp.
Although Mississippi State doesn’t throw the ball nearly as much this year, don’t be surprised if the Bulldogs start throwing the ball more in this game as they return the school’s all-time leading passer, Will Rogers.
If LSU does not fix its problems in the secondary, Tiger fans will have much to worry about as SEC play moves along.
Another problem that the defense suffers from is bad tackling. It was shown against Florida State and it was especially evident against Grambling when LSU allowed 100 yards and 15.6 yards per rush through the first quarter and a half.
Against a team like Mississippi State that has shown to be one of the best rushing attacks in the country (221.5 yards per game), LSU needs to tackle and tackle well. To make matters worse, LSU is 89th in rushing defense (149.3 yards per game)
If LSU cannot stop Mississippi State star running back Jo’Quavious Marks, it’s going to be a long night in StarkVegas.
Jayden Daniels needs to continue taking chances
One of the more notable improvements this year with quarterback Jayden Daniels has been his willingness to take chances. Although Daniels took some chances against Florida State in week one, he took a lot more against Grambling. I think everyone understands that it’s Grambling. But considering that he barely took any shots against Southern last year around the same time, Daniels has shown us that he has improved in some areas.
He had some beautiful touchdown passes to Brian Thomas, Chris Hilton and Kyren Lacy. However, SEC play has begun and Daniels needs to keep doing that. If starts taking shots down the field, Mississippi State will have a lot more to worry about other than the fact that Daniels may be the fastest player on the field.