1. STOPPING PRESCOTT
Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott has been the storyline of the week. How do the Tigers stop this dual-threat player who many believe is worthy of Heisman Trophy consideration? It starts with the defensive ends. Danielle Hunter and Jermauria Rasco must contain Prescott, preventing him from making a big scrambling play. LB Kwon Alexander wouldn’t reveal if LSU planned to have a player spying Prescott as it sometimes does against dual-threats (i.e., Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel last season).
2. UPSET BREWING
Lots of national folks are picking the Bulldogs to upset LSU, and according to ESPN’s power index, State has the best chance (39 percent) of anyone this weekend to knock off a top-10 team. Coach Les Miles has called this MSU squad the most complete he’s faced. LSU’s streak of 14 straight wins over the Bulldogs has what might be its toughest test. Bettors, though, still favor the Tigers. LSU opened as a seven-point favorite. Within a couple of hours, it was a 10-point favorite.
3. EXPLOITING THE SECONDARY
If Mississippi State has a weak link, it’s the secondary. The deep ball has been troublesome for MSU. The Bulldogs gave up 334 yards on five completions against UAB. Even in the 35-3 win over South Alabama, Mississippi State struggled. The Jaguars converted on a 42-yard pass play and dropped a 52-yard attempt. If there’s one thing QB Anthony Jennings has done well, it’s hitting the long ball to receiver Travin Dural. Exploiting MSU’s secondary is a key to victory.
4. O-LINE WOES
No one’s quite sure what starting offensive line LSU will have. It’s possible it won’t be the one we saw starting last week, Miles said. He’s suggested that Ethan Pocic will find his way onto the unit at a guard or tackle spot. The possible changes are warranted. LSU’s O-line has struggled in spots so far — stunning for a squad that returned four starters. Miles said the line will be better when center Elliott Porter, suspended for the first two games, gets comfortable and when Pocic gets in the lineup.