- Associated Press - Thursday, September 14, 2017

No. 12 LSU (2-0, 0-0 SEC) at Mississippi State (2-0, 0-0 SEC), Saturday 7 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Line: LSU by 7½.

Series Record: LSU leads 73-34-3.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

LSU and Mississippi State are both trying to establish that they’re contenders behind Alabama in the Southeastern Conference Western Division. LSU has won 16 of the past 17 in the series, but Mississippi State won in 2014 and the past two years have featured tight games.

KEY MATCHUP

Mississippi State QB Nick Fitzgerald vs. LSU’s defense. The 6-foot-5, 230-pound Fitzgerald has established himself as one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the SEC and maybe the nation. The LSU defense has given up just 10 points over two games this season, including a shutout against BYU.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Mississippi State: DT Jeffery Simmons scored two touchdowns last week against Louisiana Tech - one after recovering a punt in the end zone that he blocked and another after he recovered a fumble and ran for a 90-yard score.

LSU: DE/LB Arden Key is expected to return after missing the season’s first two games after shoulder surgery. Key is a disruptive force when healthy and had 12 sacks last season.

FACTS & FIGURES

LSU RB Derrius Guice ran for 102 yards and two touchdowns against Chattanooga last week, becoming the 16th player in school history to run for 2,000 career yards. He needed just 271 attempts to accomplish the feat, which is the lowest in school history … LSU has played 20 true freshmen so far this season. The school says that’s the most in the nation. … The LSU-Mississippi State series have been very close the past three years. Mississippi State won 34-29 in 2014. LSU won 21-19 in 2015 and 23-20 in 2016. … The Bulldogs are trying to improve to 3-0 for the first time since 2014.

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More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25 .

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