When #7 LSU and #21 Miss. State take the field on Saturday night in Death Valley, one thing has to be the theme for both teams, and that would be ‘bouncing back.’ Both teams are searching for the will to pick themselves up off the floor, wipe the blood from the corner of their mouths, and come out swinging. For LSU, the roller-coaster of emotions they faced last Saturday night vs #1 Alabama, were enough to demoralize a team for the rest of the season. For MSU, the Bulldogs have taken 2 of the toughest blows we’ve seen a Dan Mullen team take, and even worse- in back-to-back weeks.
The question is: Who has the stronger will?
I didn’t ask about talent. I didn’t ask about traditions. I didn’t ask about the home field advantage. I’m asking, which team can move past the hangover of a tough loss, look within, and manufacture a win on Saturday night. Who’s hungrier? State and LSU do carry the same exact record, so a loss on Saturday night means a 7-3 overall record, and a 3-3 (.500) mark in SEC play. It’s at that point that seasons fall into that downward spiral, losing can become contagious, and head coaches and fan-bases begin to look for answers. For both teams this is possible, yes even the #7 LSU Tigers. But, the latter is probably more of a possibility for MSU, and I can already sense some changes that may be made within the Dawgs’ coaching staff. There are no such things as moral victories, but for State, another ugly loss to a conference foe would completely demolish the feelings of a 7-0 start, and cause State fans to question their progress in competing against the SEC West’s and Nation’s best teams.
I for one, don’t see another ugly loss on the docket this season. There’s no doubt that MSU has one more heavy-weight left on its schedule in LSU, and I’m not discounting the Hogs or Bears, Lord knows our track record at times against both of those schools. But, Mullen always seems to right the ship at some point. Whether it’s a season that starts off poorly, or until this last week- a game that we fall behind in, Dan seems to get State back in the fight. As bad as State has looked the last 2 weeks, and I mean ‘BAD’, I have to think that Mullen and Co. will get back to basics this week, focus on the smallest details, and preach effort and passion. But, we’ll see….
Anyway, a couple of reasons why I think the LSU game will be close?
1. The Tigers could still be deflated from the Bama loss, and State will be looking to rebound from 2 losses.
2. State will be facing a true Pro-Style Offense, that takes very few shots, and should be more elementary in defending, as compared to the complex spreads they’ve seen this year.
3. There’s no Bulldog Bash the night before the game for our players to attend (Heard those rumors yet?).
Any thoughts on how you feel State is approaching this game?
Can MSU hang in Death Valley? At least avoid another ugly loss?
Will LSU be deflated, or rebound strong?