Louisiana Tech preview

Mississippi State defeated Louisiana Tech 26-20 in overtime at home during the last meeting in 2011. (AP Photo/Kerry Smith)

Mississippi State defeated Louisiana Tech 26-20 in overtime at home during the last meeting in 2011. (AP Photo/Kerry Smith)

It’s homecoming at Mississippi State and the Bulldogs are stepping out of conference for the final time this season.

But their opponent, Louisiana Tech, is far from a pushover. The two sets of Bulldogs will square off at 11 a.m. today on the SEC Network.

“It’s a big time game any way you look at it,” said MSU quarterback Dak Prescott. “They’re a good team and played a good Kansas State team into triple overtime. They’ve gotten some good wins and are talented on offense. They play hard on defense and have some talent there so it’s a big game.”

Both teams enter today’s game with identical 4-2 records and are battling towards bowl eligibility.

The last time these two teams met in Starkville in 2012, it took overtime to decide the winner. State was able to come away with a 26-20 victory to snap a two-game skid to Louisiana Tech and now lead the series 8-3 overall.

Mississippi State’s staff certainly has some familiarity with Louisiana Tech. Assistants Tony Hughes and Manny Diaz both had coaching stints at the Ruston-based school with Diaz serving as defensive coordinator under Skip Holtz last year.

“I knew when I saw the schedule it would we a weird week,” Diaz said. “When I walked out to practice on Sunday and saw the scout team wearing the numbers of guys I’d coached, that was an odd moment. But beyond all that, we’re playing a really good football team. They’re a team that’ll be in Conference USA championship game again and have a quarterback that has won games in the SEC and a tailback that has broken all kinds of NCAA records.”

Louisiana Tech is led by former Florida transfer Jeff Driskel at quarterback and has partnered in the backfield with fellow senior Kenneth Dixon, who has already broken five NCAA rushing records.

Louisiana Tech is averaging 493.7 yards and 39.5 points per game this season.

“This is a really exciting challenge for our guys on defense because this team can play,” Diaz said. “We’re going to have to play very well to get the outcome we want.”

MSU’s defense had one of it best efforts of the season in last week’s 45-17 home win over Troy. State registered 15 tackles for loss, four sacks and forced two turnovers, one of which was a fumble recovery for a touchdown.

I have covered Mississippi State in some capacity since 2004 and joined the Daily Journal staff in 2013. I enjoy short walks on the beach, performing concerts in my car and watching professional wrestling.

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