Preview: No. 2 Tigers Hit the Road for Mississippi State Clash
It’s back to the road for No. 2 LSU, as the Tigers look to continue their unbeaten season in Starkville Saturday afternoon against Mississippi State.
Kickoff is set for 2:30 on CBS and the LSU Sports Radio Network.
LSU (6-0, 2-0 SEC) ascended to No. 2 in the AP Poll after a 42-28 victory over Florida last Saturday in Death Valley. It’s their highest ranking since 2012, when they faced Auburn with the No. 2 ranking in the country.
In the victory over the Gators, quarterback Joe Burrow completed 21-of-24 passes for 293 yards and 3 touchdowns against a talented Florida defense, earning SEC Player of the Week Honors for the fourth time this season. The Tigers lead the nation in scoring offense (52.5 points per game) and rank second nationally in total offense (561.0 yards per game) and passing offense (395.0 yards per game).
Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson continued their stellar starts to 2019, as well, with 127 yards and 123 yards, respectively, last week. Chase leads the SEC in receiving yards per game (115.6), and Jefferson leads the league in receiving yards (670).
Clyde Edwards-Helaire scored two touchdowns vs. Florida to move to the top of the SEC charts with seven rushing touchdowns. The junior from Baton Rouge is averaging 82 yards per game on the ground at a 6.33 yard per carry clip.
The Tigers’ offensive line had their best outing of the season against a potent pass rush from Florida. LSU’s front did not allow a sack in the game and paved the way for 218 rushing yards against the Gators.
All the offensive success has LSU as the talk of the country. Orgeron likes that, but he also makes sure to keep it in perspective inside the locker room.
“That’s what we want,” he says. “We want to be mentioned as one of the top teams in the country. I want our guys to get a Heisman. Inside our room, it’s about fundamentals, about the task at hand, and beating Mississippi State.
“But it does do something for your program. That’s why you come to LSU. You want the expectations to be high, but you also want to meet those expectations. Doesn’t mean a hill of beans if you go to Mississippi State and not play well.”
Defensively, the Tigers held Florida scoreless after the first drive of the second half and got another interception from freshman cornerback Derek Stingley, his third of the season. Stingley leads the SEC and ranks third in the nation with 12 passes defended and has picked off a pass in three straight games. Sophomore K’Lavon Chaisson also registered a sack as well as three tackles for loss. The Tigers rank 13th in the nation against the run, giving up just 91.83 yards per game on the ground.
The Bulldogs are 3-3 on the season and 1-2 in the SEC after dropping a 20-10 road decision to Tennessee last week. Second-year head coach Joe Moorhead’s squad averages 192 rushing yards per game and 184.2 passing yards per game.
LSU’s last trip to Starkville saw the Tigers leave with a 37-7 defeat, and Orgeron has spent the week preparing his team for the noise of cowbells sure to fill Davis-Wade Stadium on Saturday.
“I will remind them that we walked into a hornet’s nest two years ago and I didn’t have them ready,” he says. “That was one of the loudest stadiums we played in all year. Not only the cowbells, but the music, the fans were into it. Obviously they played lights out.
“What happens with Mississippi State, they’re going to pick one game a year that there’s a target on. Always seems to be LSU. They’re going to play their best game. We’re going to expect their best football game.”