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October 5, 2013

LSU-Mississippi State pre-game notebook

Mississippi State is the perfect team for LSU to play after a loss. The Tigers have won 20 of their last 21 games against the Bulldogs with the lone loss coming in 1999 (17-16 in Starkville). Only three of LSU's 20 victories have been by a margin of seven points or less.

Under coach Les Miles, the Tigers have been very good in bouncing back from a defeat. LSU has a 20-1 record in games after a loss with Miles as coach. In 2008, the Tigers dropped back-to-back games to Ole Miss and Arkansas.

However, just two of those 20 victories came in road games. LSU won at Mississippi State after losing to Tennessee in 2005 and won at South Carolina after losing to Florida in 2008. In the Tigers' only two-game losing streak under Miles, the defeat against Arkansas occurred in Little Rock.

It has been four years since LSU played road Southeastern Conference games in consecutive weeks. In 2009, the Tigers won at Mississippi State (30-26) and then won at Georgia (20-13).

LSU has scored at least 30 points in the first five games of the season for the first time in history. The Tigers' 2,370 yards of total offense are their most in the first five games of a season. The 2007 team had the record with 2,201 yards in the opening five games.

Zach Mettenberger has started 18 consecutive games at quarterback, the longest since Herb Tyler was the starter for 37 straight games from 1995-98. The Tigers have a 14-4 record with Mettenberger as the starting quarterback.

Mettenberger moved ahead of Josh Booty into ninth place on LSU's career passing list with 4,099 yards. He trails Rohan Davey by 316 yards. Mettenberger's 372 passing yards against Georgia were the most by a Tigers quarterback in a SEC game since Davey had 528 yards against Alabama in 2001.

LSU players out to prove Georgia is not on their minds

Jarvis Landry is the first LSU player to catch a touchdown pass in each of the first five games of a season. He has now made a scoring reception in seven consecutive games, which was also accomplished by Dwayne Bowe in 2005.

Landry's 34 catches in the first five games are the most for a Tigers receiver in 24 seasons. Tony Moss also caught 34 passes in the first five games of the 1989 season. In 1986, Wendell Davis caught 36 passes in the first five games.

Odell Beckham is No. 1 in the SEC in all-purpose yardage with 1,079 yards. Texas A&M's Mike Evans is second with 691 yards. Colby Delahoussaye leads the SEC in kick-scoring with 46 points. He is second in scoring among all players to the Aggies' Ben Malena, who has 48 points.

Landry and Beckham are the only duo in the SEC averaging more than 100 receiving yards per game. Landry is averaging 104 yards per game (third in the SEC), while Beckham is averaging 101 yards per game (fourth in the SEC).

Landry and Beckham had 100-yard receiving games against TCU and Georgia. The only other time LSU had two players with 100 receiving yards in two games in a year was 2000 - Josh Reed and Jerel Myers against Western Carolina and Reed and Reggie Robinson against Mississippi State.

Center Elliott Porter leads the team in knockdown blocks with 23. Guard Vadal Alexander is second with 21. Among the other three starters, tackle La'El Collins has 17, tackle Jerald Hawkins has 14 and guard Trai Turner has nine.

Following the future: How future LSU Tigers are performing this high school season

LSU is No. 1 in third-down conversions in the SEC at 59 percent (36-of-61). Mississippi State is second-to-last in the conference in third-down conversions at 36 percent (20-of-56).

The Bulldogs lead the SEC in kickoff return average at 36.7 yards. LSU is 13th in kickoff coverage with opposing teams' average starting position being their 22. The Tigers' James Hairston does have the second most touchbacks in the conference with 24.

Mississippi State leads the SEC in turnover margin at plus-five. The Bulldogs have eight takeaways and three turnovers. LSU is tied for sixth at plus-one. Mississippi State is the only SEC team yet to allow a fourth-down conversion (0-for-3). The Tigers have allowed four fourth-down conversions in nine tries.

Both of the Bulldogs' victories have come at home against non-BCS conference teams - 51-7 against Alcorn State and 62-7 against Troy. Mississippi State was beaten 21-3 by Oklahoma State in Houston and 24-20 at Auburn.

Opposing offenses have gone three-and-out without scoring 24 times against the Bulldogs. That average of six three-and-outs per game is tops in the SEC and 12th in the country.

Of the 14 SEC coaches, only Kentucky's Mark Stoops, who is in his first year, has a worse overall winning percentage than Mississippi State's Dan Mullen. Stoops has a .250 winning percentage (1-3), while Mullen has a .563 winning percentage (31-24). Vanderbilt's James Franklin is next at .581 (18-13).

The Bulldogs have a 10-8 record in games started by Tyler Russell at quarterback. Russell has completed 61 percent of his passes with 21 touchdowns and two interceptions in the ten victories. In the eight losses, Russell has completed 54 percent of his passes with six touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

Rebuilding LSU secondary taking longer than expected

Russell is expected to start at quarterback after missing the last three games due to a concussion. With Zak Prescott at quarterback, Mississippi State has averaged more than 500 yards per game. Prescott leads the Bulldogs in rushing and has scored six touchdowns - the most among SEC quarterbacks.

Mississippi State guard Gabe Jackson has made 43 consecutive starts. The only player in the country with a longer active streak is Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray with 45.

There are ten Louisiana players on the Bulldogs roster. Five of them are on the two-deep - starting center Dillon Day (West Monroe), Prescott (Haughton), running back Josh Robinson (Franklinton), defensive end Ryan Brown (Shaw) and safety Quadry Antoine (Belle Chasse).

There are just two Mississippi players on the LSU roster - cornerback Jalen Collins (Olive Branch) and tight end Travis Dickson (Ocean Springs).

Former LSU assistant Billy Gonzales is the passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach for Mississippi State. Tigers defensive line coach Brick Haley served in the same role with the Bulldogs from 2004-06.

LSU-Mississippi State game will be televised on ESPN. The broadcasting crew will be Joe Tessitore (play-by-play), Matt Millen (analyst) and Maria Taylor (sideline reporter).


Team statistical comparison

LSU points per game: 42.8
Mississippi State opponents points per game: 14.8

LSU rushing yards per game: 192.2
Mississippi State opponents rushing yards per game: 120.2

LSU passing yards per game: 281.8
Mississippi State opponents passing yards per game: 189.8

LSU pass completion percentage: 64
Mississippi State opponents pass completion percentage: 59

LSU turnovers: 6
Mississippi State opponents turnovers: 8

LSU sacks allowed: 8
Mississippi State sacks: 5

LSU red-zone touchdown percentage: 71 (17-of-24)
Mississippi State opponents red-zone touchdown percentage: 63 (5-of-8)

Mississippi State points per game: 34.0
LSU opponents points per game: 24.4

Mississippi State rushing yards per game: 206.2
LSU opponents rushing yards per game: 148.2

Mississippi State passing yards per game: 257.5
LSU opponents passing yards per game: 198.6

Mississippi State pass completion percentage: 57
LSU opponents pass completion percentage: 54

Mississippi State turnovers: 3
LSU opponents turnovers: 7

Mississippi State sacks allowed: 6
LSU sacks: 7

Mississippi State red-zone touchdown percentage: 65 (13-of-20)
LSU opponents red-zone touchdown percentage: 53 (9-of-17)


Individual statistical leaders

Rushing
LSU: Jeremy Hill - 63 carries, 437 yards, 7 touchdowns
Mississippi State: QB Dak Prescott - 37 carries, 215 yards, 5 touchdowns

Passing
LSU: Zach Mettenberger - 128 attempts, 82 completions, 1,398 yards, 13 touchdowns, 1 interception
Mississippi State: Dak Prescott - 85 attempts, 47 completions, 709 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception

Receiving
LSU: Jarvis Landry - 34 catches, 520 yards, 7 touchdowns
Mississippi State: Jameon Lewis - 12 catches, 248 yards, 2 touchdowns

Tackles
LSU: LB Lamin Barrow - 30
Mississippi State: LB Benardrick McKinney - 24

Sacks
LSU: DE Jordan Allen - 2
Mississippi State: LB Richie Brown, DE A.J. Jefferson, LB Deontae Skinner, DT Curtis Virges, LB Matthew Wells - 1

Interceptions
LSU: CB Jalen Mills - 2
Mississippi State: S Nickoe Whitley - 2

Punting
LSU: Jamie Keehn - 16 punts, 39.9-yard average
Mississippi State: Baker Swedenburg - 14 punts, 45.1-yard average

Kicking
LSU: Colby Delahoussaye - 6-of-6 on FG, 28-of-28 on XP
Mississippi State: Devon Bell - 3-of-6 on FG, 13-of-14 on XP

Kick returning
LSU: Odell Beckham - 14 kickoff returns, 365 yards; 7 punt returns, 74 yards
Mississippi State: Jameon Lewis - 4 kickoff returns, 113 yards; 5 punt returns, 1 yard


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