LSU football mailbag: Canceled game and Mississippi State


In this week’s edition of our LSU football mailbag, we take a look at Saturday’s matchup with Mississippi State and what the canceled season opener means for the Tigers.

The LSU football team was slated to kick off its 2015 campaign last weekend, but mother nature had other plans in mind. After a weather delay that lasted more than three hours, the Tigers’ season opener was canceled altogether. 

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Related: McNeese State vs. LSU photo gallery

As a result, LSU had just one series on each side of the ball to get warmed up for their showdown with the Mississippi State Bulldogs this Saturday.

The Tigers are out for revenge after being upset at home by the Bulldogs last season, but they will have a potential Heisman Trophy contender in Dak Prescott standing in their way as they attempt to come away Davis Wade Stadium with a road victory.

We asked our readers to send in any questions they have regarding last weekend’s cancellation or Saturday’s matchup with Mississippi State. We answer them below in our first LSU football mailbag of the 2015 season.

Leigh L. — Pearl River, La.

Does this missed game affect being in the College Football Playoff?

Yes and no.

Technically, the lack of a game could hurt LSU in a tiebreaker scenario, where there is little to no separation between the Tigers and the fourth team to make the playoff. I could see this being a possibility if LSU were to lose in the SEC Championship game, and therefore the committee already has doubts in their minds regarding the team. It could also be an issue if LSU has two losses on the season.

The Tigers ultimately control their own destiny, though. A one-loss LSU team that wins the SEC Championship is going to the College Football Playoff unless there are four undefeated teams from Power 5 conferences, plain and simple. If the Tigers are left out, it is not going to be because they didn’t pick up a win against an FCS opponent in Week 1.

Steffen G. — Houston, Texas

Do you see the cancelled game impacting LSU on the field this Saturday?

It definitely could.

The biggest thing that the LSU football team had to gain from playing McNeese State was the opportunity to face an a dual-threat quarterback before they face Dak Prescott this week. He is arguably the best running quarterback in college football, and is talented enough to carry Mississippi State to a victory. The last thing a team wants is to be shaking off the rust from the offseason against a dynamic playmaker like Prescott.

It also hurts that some of the true freshmen did not have a chance to get experience before they face an SEC opponent in a game that matters. Players like Arden Key are going to be called upon to play a big role, and it would have been nice to get the first-game jitters out of the way already.

Zach E. — Mobile, Ala.

Which matchup is more important this week: LSU’s wideouts against Mississippi State’s defensive backs, or the defensive ends’ ability to hold the edge against their tackles?

That’s a tough one, but I have to go with LSU’s wide receivers against the Mississippi State secondary.

If this was last season, I would have gone with the matchup in the trenches, without a doubt. But that Mississippi State running game was also more dangerous because of Josh Robinson in the backfield. Robinson did not receive the same level of national attention that Prescott did, and it is often overlooked that he was one of the best backs in the SEC in 2014, finishing the year third in the conference in rushing yards and second in yards per carry.

This season, they have several good backs, but none as good as Robinson. Meanwhile, their secondary struggled tremendously in Week 1, something that could allow the LSU football team to blow this game open. Quarterback Brandon Harris and his talented receiving corps have the talent to make this happen, it is just a matter of putting it together on the field.

Clint D. — Lafayette, La.

What’s your confidence level for Brandon Harris on Saturday, based on the little game time he had against McNeese State?

Very high.

Brandon Harris completed 1-of-2 passes for negative four yards during his only drive against McNeese State last Saturday, but I would not read into that whatsoever. The blame falls on him for the incomplete pass, but the loss of yards was a result of a missed block on a swing pass. I base my confidence on Harris’ superb performance this offseason and in fall camp. In particular, his commitment to getting better in the film room.

As mentioned above, he has the luxury of playing against a secondary that has struggled to defend the pass. Combine that with the inevitability that the Bulldogs will be stacking the box to slow down Leonard Fournette, and Harris is going to have some opportunities for big plays.

If you would like to submit a question for next week, connect with us on Facebook or tweet us @DeathValleyFS.

Next: LSU football: Tigers to watch vs. Mississippi State

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