LSU football: Mississippi State breakdown with Maroon & White Nation


Our friends at Maroon and White Nation help us break down the LSU football team’s SEC opener against the Mississippi State Bulldogs. 

The LSU football team heads to Starkville, Miss. this weekend, as the Tigers finally get their 2015 campaign underway against the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

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The Bayou Bengals missed out on the luxury of a warmup game after having their season opener against McNeese State canceled due to inclement weather.

Now, the LSU football team will have to shake off the rust against the team that handed them their first defeat of a disappointing 2014 season.

Mississippi State is led by a Heisman hopeful at quarterback in senior Dak Prescott, as well as a talented defensive front. While they may not be as dangerous as they were last season, they are also not a team that can be slept on.

In order to gain better insight on what to expect from the Bulldogs, we spoke with Justin Strawn, co-editor of Maroon and White Nation. Here is what he had to say.

Before we get into this week’s matchup, let’s talk a little bit about what last season’s upset over LSU meant for the Mississippi State football program.

It seemed as if everyone knew that Dak Prescott was going to be really good heading into the year, but few saw the Bulldogs as a serious multidimensional threat before this game. Do you think beating LSU in such a dominating fashion had an impact on how well Mississippi State played the rest of the season?

"Absolutely. The Bulldogs played with a confidence and swagger many had not seen until the Bulldogs won in Baton Rouge. Winning there is no small feat, and to come in and play as well as the Bulldogs did in 2014 was absolutely a jump start on the success Mississippi State experienced in 2014."

Mississippi State seemed to struggle against Southern Miss this past weekend in their season opener. What were your biggest takeaways from the game?

"I don’t think there is much of anything to take away. The two turnovers at the very beginning of the game wore the defense down, and they couldn’t get off the field as much as they needed to as a result. Calling the play calling vanilla would be an insult to vanilla. Mullen was bound and determined to show as little as possible, even though Southern Miss was putting up more of a fight than most people thought they would. It was sloppy, but I don’t think that is a big shocker."

Last year, the combination of Dak Prescott and Josh Robinson destroyed the LSU defense. With Robinson gone to the NFL, is there a back of his caliber on the roster that the Tigers should be worried about?

"There’s a few. Ashton Shumpert was a four star back coming out of high school. Brandon Holloway wasn’t highly recruited, but he can get to the end zone in a hurry if he finds some space. Then there is former Mississippi Player of the Year in Aeris Williams and surprisingly talented Dontavian Lee. The Bulldogs have options, they just need to figure out which one is the best of the bunch."

Do you see losing eight starters on defense from 2014 being a major problem for Mississippi State against a team like LSU that has a potential Heisman Trophy candidate at running back in Leonard Fournette, as well as a revamped passing attack?

"It’s a difficult call. The running defense was a strength last year, and the Bulldogs played well against the run on Saturday outside of one big run. The front seven will always be stout, and it is going to be one of the best matchups of the night."

If Mississippi State wins it will be because…

"Dak Prescott is able to find his receivers and move around in the pocket to create time and plays much like he did in Baton Rouge in 2014."

If LSU wins it will be because…

"Mississippi State stacks the box and still can’t slow down Fournette. Then the big plays in the passing game that cursed the Bulldogs will be a factor once again."

Finally, give us your predictions for the game.

"It will be closer than last year, but I think the home field advantage, which is much more significant since the North End Zone has been enclosed, added to the fact the Tigers didn’t get a chance to really play their game against McNeese St. will give the Bulldogs just enough of an edge to pull it out.Mississippi State 31 – LSU 28"

Next: Five non-conference games that need to happen

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