For the first time since 2013, LSU and Mississippi State aren’t both undefeated as they get set to face off against one another this Saturday. With both teams still recovering from the aftershocks of unexpected Week 1 losses and impressive Week 2 bounce-back victories, here are five important questions to monitor Saturday.
Which LSU QB will play the most snaps?
It’s all but official at this point that Purdue transfer Danny Etling will start the game for LSU, but expect incumbent starter Brandon Harris to play a series or two also. That said, if last week’s win was any indication, expect Etling to remain in the game if the offense looks like it’s remotely capable of moving the ball.
Will LSU limit Leonard Fournette’s carries?
Probably not. Fournette sat out last week’s game out of precaution, but Les Miles has said this week that his prized tailback has been full-speed all week in practice. With this game marking the beginning of SEC play, games begin to matter all that much more, setting the stage for a big week from Fournette.
Who will control the time of possession?
Neither LSU nor Mississippi State have done a particularly good job of controlling the clock this season. That said, Mississippi State has allowed the fewest sacks in the SEC West and is leading the whole conference in yards per carry. When combining that strong offensive line play with LSU’s propensity for big special teams plays, expect the Bulldogs to dictate the pace of play.
How will LSU work Malachi Dupre into the game?
Dupre is still LSU’s most targeted receiver this season, but he has more drops (4) than catches (3). Miles was adamant that Dupre will still be part of the game plan this week, so expect to see Dupre eased into the game early with some quick slants, bubble screens, out routes and other high-percentage plays.
LSU will have a hard time keeping dual-threat Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald in check, but ultimately the Tigers’ talent will prove too much, as LSU will win 21-13.