Summer Scouting is a daily weekday post analyzing LSU football’s 12 opponents for the 2015 season. From McNeese State (June 29) to Texas A&M (July 11), we’ll give you an early scouting report on the one dozen teams on LSU’s schedule.
When: 8:15 p.m., Sept. 12
Where: Scott Field, Starkville, Mississippi
Early spread: LSU -3
Who’s before and after: vs. McNeese State and vs. Auburn
Mississippi State at a glance
Coach (year): Dan Mullen (7th year)
2014 record: 10-3 (6-2, 2nd in SEC West)
2014 postseason: Lost in the Orange Bowl, 49-34 to Ga. Tech
Returning starters: 8 (4 offense, 4 defense)
Replacing Robinson: RB Josh Robinson and his 1,203 yards and 11 touchdowns are gone. He left early for the NFL draft, where he was picked by the Colts in the sixth round. Dontavian Lee, a redshirt freshman and three-star prospect from Hattiesburg, shined brightly among running backs during the spring. It doesn’t mean Lee will get the starting gig, of course. In fact, junior Ashton Shumpert (274 yards, 2 touchdowns in 2014) and Aeris Williams, another redshirt freshman, entered spring as the favorites to take the job. It might be more running back-by-committee for the Bulldogs.
QB Dak Prescott: Prescott enters this season as one of the favorites to win the Heisman Trophy. The dual-threat QB from Louisiana shattered records during a breakout 2014 season. He threw for 3,449 yards, ran for another 986 and scored a combined 41 touchdowns. He carved up LSU in State’s 34-29 win, scoring three times and rolling up 373 yards. Prescott made off-season news a few months ago, when he was attacked during a spring break trip to Florida.
Front 7: Mississippi State lost five of its front seven on defense. That includes LB Benardrick McKinney (team leader in tackles at 71) and DE Preston Smith (team leader in TFL with 15 and sacks with 9). The Bulldogs will be young and inexperience defensively and will, even, have a new guy at the helm in DC Manny Diaz. Diaz begins his second stint in charge of State’s D. He left Starkville for Texas, where he was fired in 2013. He spent last season as DC at Louisiana Tech, where the Bulldogs finished 34th nationally in total D.
Previous posts and coming posts
Monday: McNeese State
Tuesday: Mississippi State
Friday: Eastern Michigan
Saturday: South Carolina
Tuesday: Western Kentucky
Friday: Ole Miss
Saturday: Texas A&M