LSU will be hoping for a much different result than it had against Mississippi State last season when the teams meet on Saturday afternoon. The Tigers allowed an SEC-record 623 passing yards in a 44-34 loss to open the 2020 season. Both teams are 2-1 through their first three games this year—this is the SEC opener for both sides.
Tigers with revenge on their mindLSU was embarrassed in its last meeting with Mississippi State, allowing an SEC-record 623 passing yards. The Tigers were the defending national champions, so it was a huge upset. Expectations have been lowered a bit since that game. They entered the 2021 season ranked No. 16, but they were immediately bounced from the top 25 when they lost to UCLA over Labor Day weekend. LSU has responded with a pair of blowout wins over McNeese State and Central Michigan to build some confidence heading into SEC play. The Tigers have six ranked opponents currently on the final nine games of their schedule.
Their offense is led by quarterback Max Johnson, who has completed 64.8% of his passes for 864 yards. He has thrown 11 touchdowns and just two interceptions through the first three games of the season. Running back Corey Kiner has 23 carries for 130 yards and two touchdowns. He is averaging 5.7 yards per attempt, but the rushing attack is only posting 3.0 yards per carry overall. Tyrion Davis-Price has 27 carries for just 72 yards. Wide receiver Kayshon Boutte has caught 20 passes for 224 yards and six touchdowns. Jack Bech has added 10 receptions for 155 yards and a score.
Rogers leads strong Mississippi State offenseMississippi State might be 2-1 as well, but its path to that point has been much different. The Bulldogs opened the year with a thriller against Louisiana Tech, erasing a 20-point, fourth-quarter deficit to avoid the upset. Mike Leach’s squad scored 21 points in the final 12 minutes to record the 35-34 win. Louisiana Tech had rattled off 34 unanswered points after going down 14-0 in the early going. Mississippi State followed that game up with a 24-10 win over North Carolina State in Week 2. Lideatrick Griffin took the opening kickoff back 100 yards for a touchdown and the Bulldogs never trailed.
They were unable to remain unbeaten last week, dropping a 31-29 final against Memphis. Mississippi State appeared to down a punt late in the fourth quarter, but the Tigers scooped it up for a bizarre 94-yard touchdown. The Bulldogs are led by quarterback Will Rogers, who has completed 74.8% of his attempts for 1,083 yards and eight touchdowns. He has only thrown one interception so far. Running backs Joquavious Marks and Dillon Johnson are splitting the tailback duties, but their rushing attack is only averaging 2.7 yards per carry. Wide receiver Makai Polk has caught 25 passes for 226 yards and a touchdown.
- 1-4 ATS in its last five games after scoring 40+ points in its previous game
- 1-4 ATS in its last five September games
Mississippi State is:
- 25-8 ATS in its last 33 home games vs. a team with a winning road record
- 4-1 ATS in its last five games as an underdog
- 5-2 ATS in its last seven games overall
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
I do not really understand why LSU is laying points on the road in this game. The Tigers could not slow down Mississippi State’s offense last year and I have not seen anything to make me think something is going to change this time. They were exposed by UCLA in the season-opener and have played two cupcake opponents since then. Mississippi State’s rushing attack has not been good, but Rogers is off to a hot start. The Bulldogs were the fourth-best defense in the conference last year and I trust them to come up with a few stops on Saturday that will be the difference.
Full-Game Total Pick
This total is at least five or six points too low. Mississippi State almost covered this number on its own last season. The Bulldogs have looked sharp offensively through their first three games and I have some serious questions that the LSU defense has not answered yet. On the other side, the Tigers have looked capable. They have been scoring consistently through their first three games and I would be surprised if they are shut down on Saturday. LSU has gone over in five of its last six games, while Mississippi State has gone over in five of its last seven September games.