STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — No. 2 LSU and Mississippi State are heading in opposite directions this season.
The Tigers own the nation's highest-scoring offense this season and has wins at No. 15 Texas and over No. 9 Florida on its resume. Slumping Mississippi State ranks 12th in the SEC in total offense and has dropped two straight games.
But the potential for a trap exists with LSU (6-0, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) making the trek to Starkville one week after beating the Gators and a showdown against No. 11 Auburn looming on the horizon. LSU coach Ed Orgeron wants to make sure his team doesn't get caught looking ahead.
The coach pointed out that LSU lost 37-7 the last time it played at Mississippi State..
"Two years ago we went over there, did not play well," Orgeron said. "This is going to be a loud crowd and they play very good at home. We're expecting a tough battle and we're going to get ready this week for a tough battle on the road."
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow leads the Football Bowl Subdivision in passing efficiency (218.1) and ranks second in yards passing (2,157)
"It's a credit to our coaching staff; they've done a great job this year of kind of molding this offense into what we thought we could be," Burrow said. "We're playing very, very well right now and I'm excited to see what we're going to end up at."
LSU tailback Clyde Edwards-Helaire ranks seventh in the SEC with 82.3 rushing yards per game and is tied for the SEC lead with seven touchdown runs. That kind of balance has made life difficult for opposing defenses trying to slow down LSU's offense.
Mississippi State is struggling to put up points. The Bulldogs are coming off a 20-10 loss at Tennessee — a season-low point total. The Bulldogs average an SEC-low 184.17 passing yards per game.
"As always in this conference, you have the No. 1 team (Alabama) in the country on our side (of the division) and you have the No. 2 team (LSU) in the country on our side," Mississippi State coach Joe Moorhead said. "So when I talk about the margin of error being small on a weekly basis, it is about negligible this week because there is no margin of error."
Some other things to know about Saturday's LSU-Mississippi State game.
QB CHANGE FOR MISSISSIPPI STATE
On Saturday Mississippi State freshman Garrett Shrader will make his second start of the season at quarterback. Shrader's first collegiate start came last month in a 28-13 win over Kentucky. In that outing, Shrader was 17 of 22 passing for 180 yards and rushed for 125 yards and one touchdown.
Senior Tommy Stevens has started Mississippi State's other four games this season.
TIGERS LIGHTING UP SCOREBOARD
LSU hasn't been known for offensive fireworks this decade. But all of that has changed this season, particularly with the addition of passing game coordinator Joe Brady.
The Tigers are averaging an FBS-leading 52.5 points. Burrow got particular satisfaction out of putting up more 511 yards and 42 points against a Florida defense that rated among the best in the SEC coming into Tiger Stadium last week.
"The first five games were great, but everybody says we didn't play the best competition on defense," Burrow said, recalling the narrative he heard before facing the Gators. "We just played the best competition and played very, very well. ... We knew we could do this."
RARE OCTOBER HOME GAME
Mississippi State's home game Saturday is the Bulldogs' first appearance at Davis Wade Stadium since the Sept. 21 Kentucky game. After this game, Mississippi State won't play at home again until Nov. 14 against No. 1 Alabama.
LSU HAS DOMINATED THIS SERIES
LSU has faced little resistance from Mississippi State in this series, particularly since the turn of the century. Since 2000, the Tigers have won 17 of the last 19 meetings with Mississippi State, including last year's 19-3 win in Baton Rouge.
BULLDOGS THRIVE ON TAKEAWAYS
Mississippi State ranks third among FBS schools with 16 takeaways this season. The Bulldogs are also tied for the nation's lead with 10 fumble recoveries. Mississippi State has forced at least one turnover in 22 straight games.
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