In some ways No. 25 Mississippi State will open Week 2 as blindly as it did in the opener.
The Bulldogs begin conference play hosting LSU at 8:15 p.m. tonight on ESPN but were unable to get much of a feel for the 14th-ranked Tigers after their season opener with McNeese State was canceled after only 11 plays due to lightning last weekend.
“Their players are all fresher and ready to go,” said MSU coach Dan Mullen. “They have a new defensive staff and you don’t get to see what they are doing on defense. You don’t get to see where all of their new guys are positioned. They have a bunch of new starters and you don’t get to see how they are going to utilize those players.”
Although LSU had an entire film to prepare from MSU’s 34-16 win at Southern Miss, Mullen believes his Bulldogs also have the benefits of having game experience for 10 new starters and 24 players making their collegiate debuts.
“The advantage for us is that our guys played in a very tough road environment against, to me, what is an in-state rivalry,” Mullen said. “For our younger guys it is great to get a game under our belt.”
It is the second straight year the Bulldogs and Tigers have began the SEC season against one another. Last year, State was able to snap a 14-year skid to LSU with a 34-29 win in Baton Rouge.
The Bulldogs amassed 570 yards of offense in that contest including 373 and three touchdowns from quarterback Dak Prescott.
Mississippi State’s defense surrendered just 89 yards on the ground to the Tigers limiting Leonard Fournette to only 38 yards rushing. The Bulldogs also accounted for three sacks and an interception on the game’s final play to fend off a late LSU rally.
Trailing 34-10 in the fourth quarter, Brandon Harris came off the Tigers bench and led a feverish comeback. Harris is now LSU’s starting signal caller as a sophomore.
“I know he didn’t start the game but he was lighting it up and making throws all over the field,” Mullen said. “We know he is a very, very talented player with obviously another whole year of development. You haven’t seen it but I imagine he’ll be more improved from where he was last year.”