Five things: LSU-Mississippi State

October, 5, 2013
10/05/13
7:00
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LSU looks to improve to rebound from a tough loss to Georgia when it travels to Starkville, Miss., to face the Mississippi State Bulldogs on Saturday night. Here are five things to watch when the two teams meet:

1. Hangover effect: LSU can't feel sorry for itself after losing a heartbreaker to Georgia. Mississippi State is unranked and a heavy underdog, but if the Tigers sleep on the scrappy Bulldogs, it could spell trouble. All of LSU's goals are still available, as quarterback Zach Mettenberger explained earlier this week. There's no reason to go into this game and give anything but its best.

2. A two-quarterback system: Tyler Russell will start, but Dak Prescott will play as well for Mississippi State, according to head coach Dan Mullen. It's a curious move, as Prescott has played fairly well since taking over for Russell after the season opener against Oklahoma State. Prescott adds dimension to an otherwise stagnant offense, providing a real running threat from the quarterback position. Russell, though, is clearly the more polished passer, which is something the Bulldogs will need against an LSU secondary that struggled to stop the pass against Georgia.

3. Stopping the run: It's not all about the secondary, though. LSU's front seven must play better to avoid giving up long drives. LaDarius Perkins has been slowed somewhat this season, but he's still one of the better backs in the league. Should LSU give up 5.4 yards per rush, as it did against Georgia, Mississippi State will have a chance. Mullen likes to run the football and will likely do everything he can to keep LSU's offense off the field.

4. Mettenberger's development: It's been one of the more intriguing storylines in the SEC. Mettenberger has grown from an underwhelming passer to one of the league's best overnight. He's thrown 13 touchdown passes, already surpassing last season's total. With Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. on the outside, he's had plenty to work with. Mettenberger's poise and accuracy have stood out in his senior season. Should he continue his high level of play, he'll have LSU in title contention.

5. Lucky No. 13: LSU has owned the series against Mississippi State of late, winning 13 in a row dating back to 1999 and 20 of 21 since 1992. Should LSU play its game, there's no reason to believe that streak won't continue.

Alex Scarborough | email

Alabama/SEC reporter

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