- Associated Press - Thursday, September 10, 2015

No. 14 LSU (0-0, SEC 0-0) at No. 25 Mississippi State (1-0, SEC 0-0), 9:15 p.m. (ESPN)

Line: LSU by 4½.

Series Record: LSU leads 71-34-3.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

This is the first of what figures to be several important SEC West showdowns. Mississippi State is trying to improve on last week’s so-so showing in a 34-16 victory over Southern Mississippi. LSU wants to get off to a good start after playing only five minutes of its opener against McNeese State before it was canceled due to lightning.

KEY MATCHUP

Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott vs. LSU’s defense. Prescott was fantastic in the Bulldogs’ victory over LSU last season, accounting for 373 yards of total offense. It was Mississippi State’s first win in Baton Rouge since 1991. LSU’s defense is usually among the league’s best, but the Tigers have a new defensive coordinator this season in Kevin Steele, who takes over for John Chavis.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

LSU: RB Leonard Fournette. Everyone is expecting a fantastic sophomore season from Fournette, who lived up to his considerable hype as a freshman in 2014 by running for 1,034 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Mississippi State: RB/KR Brandon Holloway. The 5-foot-8, 165-pound junior can be a threat in the backfield while splitting time with Ashton Shumpert, but is most dangerous on special teams. He had a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the opener against Southern Miss.

FACTS & FIGURES

Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott has a 15-6 record as a starter and already owns 18 school records. He’s been responsible for 75 career TDs, including 43 passing and 32 rushing. … MSU DE A.J. Jefferson had seven tackles, including two sacks, in his first career start against Southern Miss last weekend. … The Bulldogs have had at least 420 yards of total offense in 15 straight games dating back to 2013. … LSU has won seven straight games against Mississippi State in Starkville. The Tigers’ last loss was in 1999. … LSU has won 12 straight season openers dating back to a 2002 loss to Virginia Tech.

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