• The matchup: No. 22 MSU (7-2, 3-2 SEC) at No. 9 LSU (7-2, 3-2)
• The kickoff: 6 p.m., ESPN
• The weather: Gonna be mighty pleasant in Baton Rouge tomorrow. A high of 77 is forecast, and it’ll get down around 60 overnight. So, oughta be perfect come game time. No rain.
• The line: LSU –15
A couple of wounded teams meet up at Tiger Stadium. MSU has been whipped two consecutive weeks by Alabama and Texas A&M, being outscored 76-20 in those games. LSU is coming off a heart-breaking last-minute loss at home to No. 1 Alabama. So these teams are either discouraged or motivated to make things right, and certainly both are a bit beat up by this point.
The Bulldogs could make a lot of bitter feelings disappear by winning in Baton Rouge for the first time in 21 years. That would avoid a three-game losing streak, set up a strong finish to the regular season, and would put MSU back in the Cotton Bowl conversation. It would be a big upset, of course, because LSU just doesn’t lose that often at home. In fact, it’s 36-2 in Saturday night games at Tiger Stadium under eighth-year coach Les Miles. The Tigers have lost back-to-back games under Miles just once, in 2008, and they’ve not lost back-to-back home games since 2001.
So yeah, history is against MSU. So is conventional wisdom. The last two games, the Bulldogs have had trouble stopping the run, trouble tackling, trouble creating turnovers, trouble running the ball, trouble scoring early (or much at all). Common sense tells us it’s going to be just as tough tomorrow as it has been the past two weeks.
Pulling the upset would require MSU re-establishing its running game, which has produced only 145 yards the last two outings. The defense needs to get turnovers, and State can’t let LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger have an encore of his performance last week versus Alabama. MSU quarterback Tyler Russell will be facing a strong secondary while having to avoid two stud defensive ends, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he finds a way to make some plays.
MSU might play LSU close for a while, if it can just avoid that whole falling-behind-21-0-less-than-20-minutes-into-the-game thing. Not so sure that’ll happen, though.
• The prediction: LSU 28, MSU 7.