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October 4, 2013

Know the Foe: LSU

Mississippi State comes off of a bye week after a 62-7 thrashing of Troy. They now meet their toughest opponent of the season in 10th-ranked LSU coming to Starkville after a tough loss at Georgia, 44-41.

Who: Mississippi State (2-2) vs. LSU (4-1)
Where: Starkville, Miss.; Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field
When: Saturday, October 5; 6 p.m CT on ESPN
Series Record: LSU leads, 70-33; The Last Time: LSU, 37-17 in Baton Rouge 2012

About the Tigers

The Coaching: LSU returns "The Mad Hatter" for year number nine. Les Miles picked up where Nick Saban left off and has a 89-22 record to date with the Tigers. His LSU teams have only lost two games in a row once under his watch and look to bounce back after a tough one between the hedges in Athens last season. Miles has won two SEC championships in his first eight years with a National Championship coming in his third season in 2007. He's won at least 10 games in six of those eight years and still has a chance to make it to Atlanta again this season with a win on Saturday being key.

Miles added a new dimension to his offensive scheme with the addition of Cam Cameron a coach that has the respect among all coaching circles both in college and in the pros. Cameron has been a big part of the evolution of the passing offense at LSU and has made the offense much more of a threat since taking over adding balance to the overall faction.

Defensively, John Chavis returns for Miles and has seen a bit of a drop off than in years past because of the talent that was lost from last season. Chavis is still one of the more respected coaches in the country and will more than likely have the Tiger defense ready for the challenge this week.


The Offense: Remember when LSU was just lining up under center and running the ball down your throat every play with sweeps to the left and right and dives right up the middle picking up chunks of yards? Well, they can still do that. However, they now become a much more dangerous threat as quarterback Zach Mettenburger has been transformed into a much more formidable passer in his second season. Mettenburger has already thrown for 1,398 yards in five games with 13 touchdowns and is coming off the game of his life against his former school, Georgia. Last week, the senior threw for 372 yards and three touchdowns as the Bulldogs just edged out the Tigers.

Mettenburger has had a lot of help though with two of the best receivers in the country making plays once the ball is in their hands. Odell Beckham Jr. is where it starts for the Tigers as the talented receiver has already caught 26 passes for 507 yards and gone over 1,000 all-purpose yards already. Playing in the slot is Jarvis Landry another dangerous threat who is the team's leading receiver at 34 catches, 520 yards and seven touchdowns.

As if the passing game wasn't trouble enough for the MSU secondary, the defense has to focus on limiting the run as well. The Tigers are led by one of the nation's top backs in Jeremy Hill who was SEC player of the week after his performance against Auburn two weeks ago. The sophomore has already rushed for 450 yards and seven touchdowns in the first five games. A slew of running backs are behind Hill with Alfred Blue, Kenny Hilliard, Terrence Magee and even full back J.C. Copeland all capable of toting the rock for big games.


Defense: Chavis has put together a great secondary every season with the LSU Tigers and this year the talent level is at the top again. The problem is his secondary is as young as it has been and it showed last week against an elite quarterback in Aaron Murray. The Bulldogs had receivers finding themselves wide open late in the ball game when it mattered most and Tigers fans wondered what was going on with the usually elite secondary group.

LSU still has elite talent and is not going to be a pushover. Led by players like Kwon Alexander , Lamin Barrow and Jalen Collins as young players, they still have an advantage over MSU. The Bulldogs must keep the quarterback protected and find a way to run the football to set up the pass for Russell and Prescott. With just seven sacks in the first five games, the Tigers obviously aren't the defensive force they've been in the past. They're still, however, LSU.


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