Week 11 – Mississippi State at LSU

Posted Nov 7, 2012

Week 11 Fearless Prediction – Mississippi State at LSU


Mississippi State (7-2) at LSU (7-2) Nov. 10, 7:00, ESPN

Here's The Deal: Which team can get over their Alabama hangover first? Mississippi State was rolling along with a 7-0 record, and then came the 38-7 blasting by the Tide, followed up by a lifeless 38-13 loss to Texas A&M to throw the great season into a tailspin. Now it's time to fight for a solid bowl bid and show that the first seven games against a relatively easy slate wasn't a fluke. Beating LSU would legitimize the season and should keep a New Year's Day bowl on the table with winnable games against Arkansas and Ole Miss to close out. First, the Bulldogs have to beat LSU for the first time since 1999 and the second time since 1991.

The Tigers have to pick themselves up off the mat in a hurry after the heartbreaking late loss to the Tide, or else a potentially great year can quickly sink into the abyss. They were two minutes away from being deep in the national championship chase, but even with the massive disappointment to get over, there's a lot to play for. If Florida loses to Florida State and if Georgia loses the SEC championship, a 10-2 LSU would likely get an at-large BCS shot. Beating Ole Miss isn't a given, and going to face a fired up Arkansas with nothing to lose will be dangerous, but a win over the Bulldogs would put a halt to any bad momentum before it gets started.

Considering the Tigers were so close to beating the Tide, and with the Bulldogs getting blown out so badly, is this all about attitude? Is LSU's biggest problem LSU? Can Mississippi State get the offense going like it did before scoring a total of 20 points over the last two weeks? It might turn into a defining game for MSU, or a massive letdown for the Tigers, but it's going to be one of the key games late in the SEC season for the bowl pecking order.

Why LSU Might Win: Where did the Mississippi State offense go? The schedule got tougher and the numbers went bye-bye with its two worst rushing outputs of the season and two lowest outputs of total offense in losses to Alabama and Texas A&M. The Bulldogs have a decent passing game, but they need to be balanced offensively and they can't rely on the air show taking control of the game. Defensively, the front seven hasn't done a good enough job at getting into the backfield and doesn't generate much of a pass rush.

Why Mississippi State Might Win: Can the Bulldogs avoid the big mistakes? LSU has been terrific in terms of turnover margin this season, and almost beat Alabama by being +2, but MSU has been incredibly stingy when it comes to giving up the ball. However, out of the eight turnovers on the season, three came in the loss Alabama and the third pick of the season came last week against Texas A&M. Despite how it looked last Saturday night, LSU doesn't necessarily have a high-octane attack – it's asking a lot for Zach Mettenberger to do his Drew Brees impersonation two weeks in a row. As long as MSU is able to avoid the big errors, continue to keep the penalties to a minimum and hang on to the ball, it might have a shot.

What To Watch Out For: It's a tale of two quarterbacks for now, and as leaders for their teams into next year. Tyler Russell took a huge step forward for Mississippi State this season with 16 touchdown passes and three picks, but two of his interceptions came in the last two weeks in losses. Splitting time over the last two years, Russell was awful against the Tigers completing 9-of-18 passes for 126 yards with no scores and four picks. A win over LSU would up his stock going into 2013.

LSU's Mettenberger was brilliant against the loaded Alabama defense, completing 24-of-35 passes for 298 yards and a touchdown – he was slinging it. While he was careful to not screw up and turn the ball over, he also did a great job of driving the ball with decisive throws. Was that a one game thing or is he about to turn a corner as a playmaker?

What Will Happen: LSU will bounce back in a hurry with its ground game. Line up, smash away, get over the Alabama hangover with a dominant, tough performance on both sides of the ball.

CFN Prediction: LSU 27 … Mississippi State 14
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) LSU -14.5 O/U: 44
Must Watch Rating (5 – Skyfall, 1 – Wreck It Ralph): 4