KEYS TO VICTORY
Move chains early
Mississippi State went its first three drives without producing a first down in a loss to Auburn and did not move the chains on its first two drives at Tennessee. As high scoring as LSU’s offense has been this year, the Bulldogs need to produce points on every possession they can.
Establish the run
Kylin Hill only had 13 yards on 11 carries last week with a long run of 4 yards. Joe Moorhead’s offense is built around running the football and that would take an enormous amount of pressure off true freshman quarterback Garrett Shrader as well.
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow has completed nearly 80 percent of his passes and has only thrown three interceptions all year. The Tigers are averaging 395.5 yards passing per game, so the ball is going to be in the air a lot and MSU’s secondary needs to nab a few of those.
WHAT TO WATCH
When MSU has the ball
Shrader is making his second career start at quarterback but will need protecting after Mississippi State surrendered seven sacks last week. The Bulldogs rank 12th in the Southeastern Conference in total offense, averaging 376.2 yards.
LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. has intercepted a pass in three-straight games and ranks No. 3 nationally with 12 passes defended. The Tigers rank second in the SEC against the run, giving up only 91.8 yards per game on the ground.
When LSU has the ball
The Tigers top the country in scoring offense (52.5 points) and are second in total offense (561.0 yards). Burrow has already thrown for 2,157 yards, 25 touchdowns and only three picks this year.
MSU’s defense has had at least one takeaway in 22-straight games and has surrendered just two touchdowns to LSU the last two years. Brian Cole II leads all SEC defensive backs with 6.5 tackles for loss.
LSU third-down offense vs. MSU third-down defense
The Tigers have the best third-down offense in the conference, converting 55.1 percent of its third-down attempts. Mississippi State’s defense is eighth in the SEC allowing opponents to move the chains 34.9 percent of the time on third down.
Many of the first downs the Bulldogs have allowed in third- down situations have been to wide open receivers due to blown or conservative coverages.