LSU football: 5 things I want to see from the Tigers against Mississippi State
No. 2 LSU is rolling as it heads to Starkville to take on a struggling Mississippi State team.
The Tigers lead the nation in scoring, they’ve beaten 2 top 10 teams and they’re getting healthier.
They should be able to take care of business in short order, but this is Mississippi State.
LSU’s most frequent opponent doesn’t win all that often in this series (the Tigers lead 74-35-3), but it makes a habit of being a bigger nuisance than records and statistics sometimes suggest it should.
Here are 5 things I want to see if the Tigers are going keep on rolling:
1. A steady game from Cade York
The freshman kicker certainly hasn’t been bad, but he has seemed shaky on occasion.
It hasn’t mattered because the Tigers have won 5 games by 14 or more points.
York has missed just 1 PAT and LSU has scored a gazillion touchdowns. And 1 of his 2 missed field goals was from 53 yards (against Utah State).
But he had a chance to put LSU on the scoreboard on the opening possession against Florida last week and missed from 44 yards. Several other kicks have appeared shaky before succeeding and he has only made 7 field goals, meaning he hasn’t had many significant tests.
At this point, the kicker is not a major concern, but there will be close games in the future and a missed kick or 2 could prove costly.
It would be good for York to nail without any doubt whatever kicks might come his way in this game.
2. A pass rush from the linemen
Yeah, you’ve heard this before. That’s because it has been a season-long concern.
The injuries on the defensive line are pretty much behind the Tigers, but the line produced little pressure against Florida.
Coordinator Dave Aranda knows he can lean on the blitz and a variety of rushes to conjure up some sort of pressure when necessary.
But sooner or later, the defensive line will have to get to the quarterback on its own if the Tigers are going to get to where they want to go.
Show you can beat Mississippi State at the line before you have to deal with Auburn and Alabama.
3. A bunch of takeaways
An improved pass rush from the line can help here too.
Freshman Derek Stingley Jr. has been doing his part in the takeaway department, intercepting a pass in 3 consecutive games to give the Tigers 6 on the season.
But the Tigers have not been great at taking the ball away, especially with fumbles. They’ve only recovered 2.
Mississippi State is a pretty limited offense with a freshman playing quarterback.
Show you’re a dominant defense. Take the ball away – a few times.
4. A repeat performance from the offensive line
The offensive line opened holes for Clyde Edwards-Helaire. It protected Joe Burrow. Overall it was outstanding against Florida.
It has been a bit of a question mark for much of the season, but if it can continue to play like it did against Florida, it’s going to give LSU a much better chance of reaching the Playoff.
A 2nd consecutive outstanding performance would be significant.
5. A replay of the Utah State game
That was the best defensive performance of the season.
The defense was helped by the offense being more balanced, a bit more methodical and extremely productive.
And the defense simply played really well against the run and the pass. It pressured the quarterback, it took the ball away, it forced punts.
It’s a formula that can lead to more significant victories – beginning this week.