SEC football is won and lost in the trenches, or in other words, the line of scrimmage.
Bob Shoop, defensive coordinator for Mississippi State University (4-2, 1-2 SEC), said Louisiana State University (6-1, 2-1 SEC) will be a challenge in the trenches.
"They are physical, it is a very physical LSU team," Shoop said. "It is going to be a great challenge up front. Their quarterback is more than just a game manager, he is a good passer and makes plays with his feet."
LSU’s physicality showed in the game against the University of Georgia, where they controlled the line of scrimmage, as well as the game, beating UGA 36-16. Shoop said the Tigers were determined to win.
"They played to win, they certainly played to win (against UGA), they were coming off of a loss to Florida," Shoop said. "They were back at home against the number two team in the country, and they played like you would expect an Ed Orgeron and a Dave Aranda type team to play. They played exceptionally well, and they certainly are not going to lack confidence going into Saturday night."
LSU’s run game is strong, and a big part of this is from their offensive line. Gerri Green, a senior defensive lineman from Greenville, said stopping the run will require MSU to win the line of scrimmage.
"It is big, they have a big physical offensive line," Green said. "They are very athletic for such big linemen. They can move, and block guys, so they are going to do a good job for their running backs. If we can stop that, just try to compete with those guys the best we can."
Shoop gave credit to Joe Burrow, LSU's quarterback, for his hard work and ability to play well in games. Burrow threw for 200 yards and rushed for 66 yards and two touchdowns in the Tigers' win over UGA.
"He (Burrow) understands the game. From what I have read about him, he is my kind of guy," Shoop said. "He is a guy that studies the game hard, he understands what it is all about. He is very efficient in the red zone, he does not turn the ball over, and he makes good decisions."
Burrow has proven he can make big plays, as he had two big runs in games against Florida and Georgia. Green said his dual threat abilities will pose a challenge in Saturday's game.
"He showed he can make the big plays down the field with his arm," Green said. "He also showed he is mobile, and he can make plays with his feet, too, so we have to account for that and respect it."
Any defensive lineman will tell explain that putting pressure and hits on the quarterback are the best ways to neutralize a threat in the pocket. Green said it will be their goal to make sure that Burrow feels the pressure in the pocket.
"It is just any quarterback, the more you can get to them and get around them, they feel it," Green said. "That is always a goal in any game we go into, to put pressure on the quarterback, and help us throughout the game."
As far as playing on the road without the support of a home crowd, Green said the team's goal is to take the crowd out of the game.
"When the offense can make big plays you can kind of feel it in the stadium," Green said. "You just want to take the fans out of it. The challenge we see is to try and take their fans out of it, but it is going to be loud, and a nice environment to play in."
The game for MSU will be a night matchup at Death Valley, as LSU looks to defend their home turf. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m., and ESPN will broadcast the game.
"(It is exciting) anytime you go on the road," Green said. "That is the fun thing about playing in the SEC. Stadium to stadium, the fans, the crowds, it is always going to be an electric atmosphere. Just to be a part of that is a big thing."