Both LSU and Mississippi State roll into this matchup feeling good with a couple huge wins to start the season. And after how this Game closed a year ago, this should be another close and fun Game. Still, the Tigers are solid -7 point road favorites as seen at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
The line seems a bit large considering how this Game went last year. Sure, LSU was up 23-3 at one point, but that was early in Nick Fitzgerald’s first season and he’s a much more experienced player now. Mississippi State went on to make it a closer Game through Damian Williams and surprisingly lost just 23-20 to cover the Game on the road.
Maybe the biggest thing is that LSU doesn’t have Leonard Fournette anymore after he gashed the Bulldogs for 147 yards and two touchdowns. Derrius Guice is no slouch, but Fournette is the superior back. Guice will continue receiving a heavy workload and his success will determine how this Game plays out. If Mississippi State can control him just a little bit, that will require quarterback Danny Etling to face some adversity and have to throw more. So far, Etling hasn’t attempted more than 17 passes in a Game and hasn’t faced much pressure.
Another facet to watch will be where the Bulldogs defense is at after a couple solid showings to start the season, albeit against lower level squads. Still, holding Louisiana Tech to 21 points is not an easy feat, no matter how big the school.
But to cover this Game, it will likely come down to the other side of the field with Fitzgerald. While he struggled a ton in last year’s Game, he’s a much different player these days as seen in his eight totals touchdowns through the first two Games. Of course, LSU has one of the best defenses in the country and already shutout BYU, so things will be a bit harder for Fitzgerald. Either way, it’d be a major surprise if the Tigers completely shut down Fitzgerald again. Between him and Aeris Williams (190 yards), the ground Game has been solid and their goal will be to find some kind of success in that area. Without at least a couple open holes running the ball, it will be tough for Fitzgerald to do everything via the pass.
Our Pick – Historically, LSU has dominated this series. However, the last 3 in this series have been decided by 3, 2 and 5 points with Miss State winning in 2014. It appears the talent gap has closed. Can’t pass up the TD at home with a live dog. Miss St +7