After dropping its SEC opener, LSU would appear to get a prime chance to regroup this week before resuming conference play with a daunting road game.
The 17th-ranked Tigers will seek to rebound from their first loss of the season and extend the nation's longest non-conference regular-season win streak to 49 games Saturday night against New Mexico State.
LSU couldn't get going until it was too late in a 34-29 defeat to Mississippi State last Saturday that snapped an 11-game home winning streak. The Tigers (3-1) trailed by 24 with less than 13 minutes remaining and didn't score an offensive touchdown until the fourth quarter while suffering their second loss in the last 35 home games.
Their four tailbacks - Kenny Hilliard, Leonard Fournette, Darrel Williams and Terrence Magee - totaled 76 yards on 20 carries. Hilliard had a team-best 215 yards in the first three games, including 110 in a 28-24 victory over then-No. 14 Wisconsin in the season opener Aug. 30.
LSU allowed 570 yards - its most in 13 seasons - and 302 on the ground, the most since Auburn gained 440 on Oct. 23, 2010.
Freshman Brandon Harris threw a pair of touchdowns in the final two minutes while subbing for Anthony Jennings and got LSU into Bulldogs territory before his desperation pass was intercepted as time expired.
"The good news is that this football team is still going to fight and is still going to come back and play, and I was proud of the back end of that game," coach Les Miles said.
Harris finished 6 of 9 for 140 yards and might have earned some more playing time this week. Miles, however, wouldn't reveal if Harris had done enough to claim the starting job from Jennings.
"I enjoyed the fact that Brandon Harris gave us a tremendous lift. He came into a position that was very difficult," Miles said. "He earned some more consideration at quarterback. ... We'll play the guy we feel gives us the best opportunity at victory."
With the unheralded Aggies (2-2) coming into Baton Rouge, Harris should have a good chance to see the field. Miles is also hoping to see a better performance in all facets before next week's trip to No. 5 Auburn.
"We've got good players, and really our coaching staff knows what they're doing, and we're in good position. It's just we've got to play better," he said. "We have to have a sense of urgency along those lines, and I think our players and coaches will."
New Mexico State has dropped back-to-back games since its first 2-0 start since 1999. The Aggies gave up the winning touchdown with 27 seconds left in a 38-35 home defeat to previously winless New Mexico last Saturday.
Sophomore Tyler Rogers passed for a career-high 333 yards and topped 300 for the second straight game, but the Aggies gave up 432 yards on the ground after allowing 344 in a 42-24 loss at UTEP on Sept. 13.
Rogers, a junior college transfer, has 1,056 yards, nine touchdowns and six interceptions. Fellow sophomore Teldrick Morgan has caught four of those TDs and 31 passes for 464 yards, placing him seventh in the FBS in both categories.
New Mexico State has lost 20 straight matchups with AP Top 25 teams since a 35-7 win at No. 22 Arizona State on Sept. 18, 1999. That victory came in the Aggies' first game with a ranked team since a 63-7 drubbing at LSU on Sept. 28, 1996, in the only meeting between the schools.