BATON ROUGE - LSU has had little time to look back at last week's near upset of top-ranked Alabama as for the first time in school history, the ninth-ranked Tigers face a Top 25 for a fifth consecutive week when 22nd-ranked Mississippi State comes to Tiger Stadium on Saturday night.
Kickoff between the Tigers and the Bulldogs is set for 6:05 p.m. with the Homecoming contest being televised on ESPN. LSU and Mississippi State bring identical records of 7-2 overall and 3-2 in conference play into the game.
The focus for the Tigers in practice this week has been building on what was accomplished in last week's game against Alabama as LSU played perhaps its most complete game of the season. LSU's offense racked up a season-high 296 passing yards on its way to piling up 435 total yards against the nation's top-rated defense. LSU ran a season-high 85 offensive plays and held the ball for just over 39 minutes in the last-minute loss to the Crimson Tide.
"Our football team continues to improve, it appears to me," LSU coach Les Miles said following Wednesday's workout. "They're working hard at it. There's good enthusiasm at practice. The preparation is good, and it has to be. Mississippi State's a good football team."
While it's not uncommon for a team to be flat following an emotional game against a fierce rival, Miles said the Tigers have practiced this week just as he expected and that's with a great attitude and a mindset on improving.
"I think we're improving and there's probably a lot to that word," Miles said. But what I've seen is guys going into these meeting rooms listening, taking in the information, committing to the practice field and really working hard at it. That is our culture. It's really what we do. That being said, it's the player's culture, it's not just the coaches insisting that it's what they're doing. They're working hard. I like it. I like the tempo at practice. I like where we're at and I like the energy at practice."
Against Mississippi State, a team that LSU has beaten 12 straight and 18 of the last 19 times, the Tigers will face a squad that won its first seven games and climbed all the way to No. 11 in the nation before back-to-back losses to Alabama and Texas A&M. Still, the Bulldogs come to Tiger Stadium with a veteran team and one that is in position for one of their best seasons in school history."
"I think they're a good football team," Miles said. "I think they've always been physical, and I think they give great effort. You have to play well. I think our football team really respects what Mississippi State has accomplished this year, and I think there's an understanding that we have to play well. I anticipate that the mood of my team when we take the field will be ready."