PREVIEW: State offense vs. LSU defense

DE Sam Montgomery

TSD's Austin Cooper previews this Saturday's LSU-Mississippi State game when the Tigers are on defense.

After a tough loss last week, the Tigers found out a lot about themselves, both on the offensive and defensive side of things. Mississippi State and its offense, which is averaging nearly 31 points per game, should provide quite the test for the LSU defense this weekend, so we will see if the Tigers will step up to the test.

Tyler Russell VS. THE LSU SECONDARY

With the main focus of the LSU defense centered on stopping the run, the secondary has been known to give up some yards in the passing game. I expect this week to be no different. Mississippi State quarterback Tyler Russell has thrown for 16 touchdowns this year against only three interceptions. Russell is averaging 230.7 yards per game while LSU is only giving up 150.3 yards per game. This matchup could be the most interesting one of the game as Russell tries to avoid mistakes against an LSU team that has forced 13 interceptions so far this season. It can also be expected that LSU will be playing a lot of tight coverage to force Russell into making throws into small windows, and hopefully causing mistakes.

LSU VS. MISSISSIPPI STATE'S RUSHING ATTACK

This aspect of the game is perhaps the most important on for the Tigers. Stopping the run is the first priority for LSU week in and week out and I expect this one to be no different. Mississippi State running back LaDarius Perkins has accumulated 804 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground so far this season. While Perkins is enjoying a great year, MSU ranks ninth in the SEC in rushing production per game while LSU ranks third in the conference in rushing yards allowed.

Stopping Perkins early will be a key for the Tigers. If this happens, the defense will have a lot more freedom to get after Tyler Russell and force the Bulldog offense into mistakes. Texas A&M was successful in stopping the MSU ground attack last week, holding them to 98 yards on 27 carries, which led to a 38-13 victory for the Aggies. If LSU can do this, the outcome should be very similar for Mississippi State.

BATTLE OF THE LINES

One thing that LSU has always been known for is a dominant defensive line. This year has provided more of the same production from a line that is considered the leaders of one of the best defenses in college football.

In this game, ends Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo will be key. They will have to be effective in getting pressure on Tyler Russell as well as helping to stop LaDarius Perkins and the MSU rushing attack. The LSU defense is averaging 2.7 sacks per game, good enough for fourth in the SEC. They will need that kind of production again this week considering they are playing a team that has only given up eight sacks on the season. The bottom line is that this game will be won or lost in the trenches, and the LSU defensive line will have it's work cut out for itself when it tries to contain Perkins.

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