Week 3 What to Watch For: LSU vs Mississippi State

No. 3 LSU at No. 25 Mississippi State

Analysts will refer to the fact that is one of only two games between match ups between ranked teams.  The response to that is that rankings are meaningless until October.

LSU’s quarterback Jarrett Lee.  Jordan Jefferson was supposed to be the Senior QB, but he was arrested (bar fight) and suspended indefinitely.  Neither Lee nor Jefferson played very well in 2010 so I don’t consider this a significant loss.  The question for Lee is can he 1) improve consistency and 2) avoid turnovers.  If he can do that, the fact that he goes backwards when he runs with the ball shouldn’t be a big issue (i.e., the running game is not his strength). But he is facing a Miss State defense that returns all four starters from last year in secondary, even if their passing defense was one of the worst in the nation.

Mississippi State’s quarterback Chris Relf. He was within one Bush-push (a reference to the a controversial touchdown

Chris Relf

scored on the goal line in the 2005 USC v Notre Dame game when Reggie Bush pushed Matt Leinart into the end zone) within tying the game against Auburn last week.  But he was stopped at the goal line and Miss State lost to Auburn 41-34. Like Lee, Relf needs to improve on consistency and accuracy.  But he is a much stronger runner.

Vick Ballard is the leading rusher for Mississippi State.  Last year he had just under 1,000 yards and 19 touchdowns.  I guess this week we find out how good he really is (he didn’t do great against LSU last year.  We also will find out how good LSU’s rushing defense is. Sure LSU’s defense stopped Oregon from running the ball in Week 1 (Oregon had a top rushing offense last year), but they had the advantage against the Duck’s inexperienced offensive line.  How will they do against Mississippi State’s offensive line?  LSU replaced two starters on their defensive line, which may be a good thing considering that this last year they contributed to the worst rushing defense in at least ten years, if not longer.

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