Mississippi State at Louisiana Tech: 5 things you should know for Week 2

mississippi state-louisiana tech-5 things-matchup

Mississippi State goes on the road Saturday for the first time this season, traveling to Joe Aillet Stadium in Ruston, La., to square off against Louisiana Tech.

Dan Mullen’s Bulldogs (1-0) impressed in Week 1, ringing up 555 yards of total offense in a 49-0 blanking of Charleston Southern. And while the offense flexed its muscles, the defense was even more impressive. Under first year defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, Mississippi State is the only team in the nation not to allow a play of more than 10 yards. In all, the Bulldogs surrendered only 33 yards on 47 plays.

We must remember, however, that Charleston Southern isn’t exactly an elite offense. Louisiana Tech should offer more of a challenge with an offense possessing its share of weaponry.

Here are five things to know about the game:

1. The quarterbacks

Nick Fitzgerald needed very little time to return to his 2016 form — and then some. After rushing for 1,375 yards and 16 touchdowns as a sophomore last season, Fitzgerald flashed his arm last Saturday. He connected on 16 of 29 passes for 239 yards and 2 touchdowns. He would have likely pushed 300 yards, but was benched as a precaution in the third quarter. He also rushed for 41 yards and the first touchdown of the year for the Bulldogs.

Louisiana Tech is led by quarterback J’Mar Smith, who last week threw for 276 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a 52-24 win against Northwestern State. Smith has had success against the SEC in the past. He started the season opener as a freshman last season, and threw for 212 yards in a near-upset of Arkansas in his first career game.

2. Series history

The tilt between both Bulldogs squads is the first in Ruston since 2008. Tech won that game 22-14. Mississippi State would go on to win the next two meetings in Starkville, including the last one in 2015. Mississippi State holds a 4-2 all-time record in the series, which began in 1980.

3. The opening line

Mississippi State enters the game as an 8.5-point road favorite (-110), according to the Bovada sportsbook.

4. Player to watch

Kylin Hill, RB, Mississippi State

Aeris Williams will receive the bulk of the work out of the Bulldogs backfield, but expect to start seeing more from Hill. The true freshman, one of four to make their Bulldog debut against Charleston Southern, rushed for 62 yards on 9 carries.

It was a solid recovery from a dubious start to his career in which he was arrested on reckless driving charges in August. But it appears everyone is moving forward. If Hill can adjust, then Mississippi State could have one of the more dangerous rushing attacks in the SEC in Williams, Hill and Fitzgerald.

5. What’s at stake

Momentum is very much on Mississippi State’s side. Momentum and history, that is. Mullen’s program is 8-1 on the road outside of the SEC, with the lone loss coming in 2016 to BYU in Provo, Utah. While the Bulldogs won’t take a potentially dangerous Louisiana Tech team lightly, the game should serve as more of a tuneup before Mississippi State begins conference play in Week 3 at home against No. 12 LSU.

The post Mississippi State at Louisiana Tech: 5 things you should know for Week 2 appeared first on SEC Country.

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