No. 6 LSU opens title defense vs. Mississippi State

Sports

FILE – In this Jan. 10, 2020, file photo, New Mississippi State NCAA college football head coach Mike Leach speaks at a news conference in Starkville, Miss., after being officially introduced as the head coach. Mississippi State’s Mike Leach and Mississippi’s Lane Kiffin brought big names and offensive pedigrees to the Magnolia State. But they drew huge challenges for their debuts, with the Bulldogs visiting defending national champion and No. 6 LSU and the Rebels hosting No. 5 Florida. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

Mississippi State at No. 6 LSU, Saturday at 3:30 ET (CBS).

Line: LSU by 16 1/2.

Series record: LSU leads 75-35-3.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

Defending national champion LSU seeks to justify the top 10 ranking it received despite seeing 14 of last season’s players selected in the 2020 NFL draft, tying a record for a seven-round draft set by Ohio State in 2004. Mississippi State seeks to open the era of new coach Mike Leach with a statement victory in Tiger Stadium.

KEY MATCHUP

LSU’s revamped defensive roster – and scheme – under new coordinator Bo Pelini vs. the Bulldogs’ new offensive scheme under Leach, who is preceded by his reputation as an architect of potent spread offenses.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Mississippi State: RB Kylin Hill returns for his senior campaign after rushing for 1,350 yards and 10 touchdowns last season.

LSU: QB Myles Brennan, once a coveted recruit from Mississippi, makes his LSU debut as starter following three years in a reserve role, first under Danny Etling in 2017 and then graduate transfer Joe Burrow, the 2019 Heisman Trophy winner, the past two seasons.

FACTS & FIGURES

Mississippi State’s last victory in Baton Rouge came when Dak Prescott was the Bulldogs’ QB in 2014. … Mississippi State has won just twice in Tiger Stadium since 1991. … Like LSU, Mississippi State also has a new defensive coordinator after Leach hired Zach Arnett away from San Diego State. … The Tigers have won two straight in the series, four of the past six and 18 of the last 20. … LSU has not lost since its final regular-season game of 2018, having won 16 straight since, starting with the Fiesta Bowl that season and running through last season’s College Football Playoff. That’s the longest active winning streak in the nation. … LSU’s record for consecutive victories is 19 between 1957 and 1959.

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