Mississippi State and LSU will meet again on Saturday, Sept. 17 in a game that will be very telling of where both programs stand.
LSU looks a good bit different since the last time the two teams faced off and has raised some big questions on either side of the ball, while MSU projects as a team that may still be severely underrated.
According to SI Sportsbook, the Bulldogs head into the contest as two-point favorites over the Tigers.
The Skinny: Playing a complete game without getting the point of having stage huge comebacks on multiple occasions has been a point of emphasis for the Bulldogs after breaking their own program comeback record more than once last season. While there was a bit of sputtering for a period time during the 39-17 win over Arizona last week, it didn't last long and the team took care of business by putting up 21 points in the second half -- 14 of which came in the fourth quarter.
Bulldogs quarterback Will Rogers continues to hold strong as one of the best signal-callers both in the SEC and the nation, currently with a 78.6% completion rate, 763 passing yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions through the first two games. As the numbers would imply, he's been highly successful at the helm of Mike Leach's Air Raid offense, which appears to be clicking at a faster rate than ever this year.
MSU is also a team that has been dominant in the trenches and has several defensive standouts including linebackers Jett Johnson, Nathaniel Watson, Tyrus Wheat and cornerback Emmanuel Forbes, just to name a handful of players who have given opposing offenses issues.
Looking over at LSU, the Tigers have not begun to touch the glory that was the undefeated 2019 season and are continuing to work through a transition phase. The Tigers have a number of number of new faces since the last time they faced LSU including transfer quarterback Jayden Daniels and a new head coach in Brian Kelly.
Daniels, despite bailing from the pocket too early at times (which can partially be blamed on the offensive line) and showing some need for improvement as a passer, was among the only bright spots the Tigers had in 24-23 loss to Florida State in their first game of the season. While the Tigers do have some pieces on defense, the defensive line has looked shaky and will have to hold against a MSU team that is also running the football more than it ever has since Leach has been with the program.
Covering the spread: This is a small spread for MSU to cover and looking at the matchup on paper, the Bulldogs seem to have the edge in just about every area. This is a team that at least based on what it has showed through two games, has far less questions to answer than the Tigers do. Expect the Bulldogs to cover the spread in what could be a statement game for them if it goes anything like their past two double-digit victories over Memphis and Arizona -- which are not cupcake opponents -- have.
To take the over or the under: The over/under stands at 53 points. Through the first two games, MSU has scored a total of 88 points (49 points against Memphis and 39 points against Arizona). Conversely, it has given up 40 points (23 points to Memphis and 17 points to Arizona).
LSU also has scored 88 points (23 points against Florida State and 65 points against Southern) and has surrendered 41 points (24 to Florida State and 17 to Southern). Quality of competition is something to take into account for both teams when looking at this and MSU has faced better overall opponents when combining the first two for each team here.
Looking at the numbers and how well this MSU offense has been humming, it's reasonable to take the over.
Bottom Line and Prediction: MSU 41, LSU 27
LSU has won all but three of the past 10 clashes between these teams, but this is a very different era and an MSU team that has an incredible amount of upside and has the potential to put the nation on notice. The Tigers seemed to find themselves more both defensively and offensively against Southern, but despite the basketball-like final score on their end, the talent gap must be taken into consideration. This game will be very telling of just how much LSU has progressed, but if this performance is anything resemblant of the loss to Florida State, the Tigers are in trouble.