SEC Predictions Week 2: Picking Games Against the Spread

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Sep 5, 2015; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers quarterback Brandon Harris (6) against the McNeese State Cowboys during the first quarter of a game at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

  • Date: Saturday September 12, 2014
  • Time: 9:15PM Eastern
  • Location: Starkville, MS
  • TV Channel: ESPN
  • Spread: LSU -4.5
  • Over/Under Total: 49.5

Mississippi State’s magical 2014 season really started when the Bulldogs went to LSU’s Tiger Stadium and scored a 34-29 upset that wasn’t as close as the score would indicate. MSU controlled the tempo of the contest from start to finish, and quarterback Dak Prescott came up huge – as he has a tendency to do against his home state school.

Last week, Prescott and the Bulldogs travelled to Hattiesburg for a rare non-conference road game, and struggled early with Southern Miss before winning 34-16. The offense rolled up 442 yards of offense, but looked sloppy at times, including two lost fumbles.

Prescott was 22-for-38 for 237 yards and two touchdowns, and added 72 rushing yards and another score, but didn’t look like the Heisman Trophy contender he was much of last season. Top target De’Runnya Wilson wasn’t a factor at all until a 42-yard catch in the fourth quarter, which was the only grab of the game for the 6-foot-5 wideout.

The defense and special teams came up with big plays – specifically two interceptions and a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown – and the defensive line played well, but the Bulldogs allowed 413 total yards, including 311 through the air.

As for LSU, the Tigers played just five minutes against McNeese State before lightning forced the teams to leave the field. After a four-hour delay, the game was finally cancelled. While the game itself wasn’t important (LSU would surely have blown out their FCS opponent), the loss of game reps could be big. Because they weren’t able to play Saturday, quarterback Brandon Harris couldn’t get into the rhythm of the season and gain confidence heading into a big SEC West showdown.

Simply put, LSU is the more talented football team, and the Tigers should win. But, because they have yet to knock the rust off following a long off-season, and because the game will be played at Mississippi State’s Davis Wade Stadium, and in front of a hostile, cowbell-clanging crowd, it should be a close, hard-fought game. Expect the Tigers to escape, but just barely.

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