Mississippi State football vs. LSU preview

Grab your cowbells Mississippi State football fans because football is back Sept. 26! It has been 258 long days and we didn’t know if we would even get here, but here we are with football in 2020. Next Saturday the Mississippi State Bulldogs travel to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to face the defending champion LSU Tigers. According to ESPN, LSU has a 93.9% of winning with a -19 spread. LSU comes into the season ranked No. 6 in the nation. The game will be televised nationally on CBS at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Football this season all together is going to look very different. On Aug. 18 the SEC released “fan health and safety guidelines” for the 2020 season that mandated masks be worn by fans at specified times inside venues this season. Both LSU and Mississippi State have capped attendance at 25% capacity this season meaning the normally 102,321 packed Tiger Stadium will only have approximately 25,500 fans in attendance.

You couldn’t have asked for a tougher Week 1 opponent for the Bulldogs, but the lack of fans should definitely help a Mississippi State team that lost three games away from home last season. Last year LSU dominated the Bulldogs in Starkville winning 36-13 before going on to a 15-0 national championship-winning season, but many of the star offensive players for the Tigers have since departed, including Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow.

According to ESPN, LSU ranks 127th out of 130 FBS teams in returning offensive production after leading the nation in total yards per game last year. Along with those who departed in the offseason, star Tigers receiver Ja’Marr Chase informed the team on Aug. 31 that he would be opting out of the 2020 college football season.

Meanwhile for Mississippi State, it heads down to the bayou with a new duo coming from the Pac-12 in offensive-minded head coach Mike Leach from Washington State and new graduate transfer quarterback K.J. Costello from Stanford. Senior running back Kylin Hill, who led the SEC in rushing last year, returns for his last season in Starkville as well.

Former Cardinal quarterback K.J. Costello comes into Starkville as not only an experienced student of the game but with a chance to be the top quarterback in the SEC this season under the air raid attack of head coach Mike Leach. Costello put up 3,540 yards passing, second-best in Stanford history, and 29 touchdowns while leading the Cardinal to a 9-4 record in 2018. His 2019 season was cut short due to injury.

Mississippi State has struggled against the mighty LSU Tigers. The Bulldogs only won once in Death Valley since 1992. That lone victory was a 34-29 win in the 2014 season during Dak Prescott’s junior season. Since 2000, Mississippi State has only defeated LSU twice.


Leach has been afforded the opportunity to start his tenure at Mississippi State with a rare victory over the purple and gold. Though given the opportunity, taking it and acting on it are different stories altogether.

Though LSU may be turning over the majority of their starters, it still has access to talent that Mississippi State just does not yet. Waiting in the wings for the Tigers are backups loaded with four- and five-star ratings just waiting to prove their worth.

Mississippi State has a very good chance of coming in and ending the championship honeymoon LSU has enjoyed and I think they will keep it close, but the talent and coaching of Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron will be too much for Leach and the Bulldogs to overcome.

FINAL SCORE: LSU 35, Mississippi State 24

Photo courtesy of MSU Athletic Communications