TV Schedule: Saturday, September 12, 9:15 p.m. ET, ESPN
Location: Davis Wade Stadium, Starkville, MS
Line: LSU (-4.0)
The LSU Tigers are on the road in Starkville to kick off their SEC schedule against the Mississippi State Bulldogs in Week 2. Last season, MSU shocked the Tigers in Baton Rouge with a 34-29 victory that sent the Bulldogs on their way to the top of the rankings and set a negative tone for the Tigers on their way to 4-4 record in SEC play in 2014.
LSU will be coming into this matchup “cold” after being forced to cancel their Week 1 game against FCS McNeese State due to inclement weather. Without that tune-up game, new starting quarterback Brandon Harris will be making his first start against a tough SEC defense in a very hostile environment giving him very little room for error as he tries to get comfortable under center. The pressure will be on returning starters like running back Leonard Fournette (1,034 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2014) and receiver Travin Dural (37 receptions, 758 yards, 7 TDs) to take some pressure off Harris by making big plays early.
For Mississippi State, they have the benefit of a bit of momentum thanks to a Week 1 win after dispatching the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles 34-16. Quarterback Dak Prescott is the most experienced and accomplished quarterback in the SEC this season after throwing for 3,449 yards and rushing for 986 yards with 41 total touchdowns in 2014. Last week, Prescott went 22-for-38 for 237 yards and two touchdowns through the air while leading the Bulldogs rushing attack with 72 yards and a touchdown on eight carries. He will need some help from his supporting cast this week, however, to overcome a talented LSU defense that will undoubtedly be keying on containing the Mississippi State signal caller.
We will learn a lot about LSU and Mississippi State this week in Starksville that will help to determine how legitimate each team’s claim to the SEC West crown may be. Will the Tigers get enough production from their quarterback to balance their offense and win on the road or will the Bulldogs repeat their upset performance from a year ago and start their SEC slate off with a huge win?
Prediction: Mississippi State 31, LSU 21