College Football
Preview
UL Lafayette at Mississippi State
When: 7:30 PM ET, Saturday, September 15, 2018
Where: Davis Wade Stadium, Starkville, Mississippi

Mississippi State passed the first road test of the Joe Moorhead era with flying colors and looks every bit a contender in the SEC through the first two weeks of the season. The 16th-ranked Bulldogs will continue to fine tune before the start of conference play when they host Louisiana on Saturday.

Mississippi State welcomed quarterback Nick Fitzgerald back from a one-game suspension last week and watched him lead the team to a 31-10 victory at Kansas State - the program's first true road win over a Power 5 team since 1995. "It felt great," Fitzgerald told reporters. "It is always good to go out there and finally get to reap the rewards of all the hard work that you have put in with your teammates all offseason, since this past January. It was amazing to get out there." The Bulldogs piled up 604 rushing yards and six TDs on the ground in the first two weeks and will be trying to outgain a Ragin' Cajuns offense that got a week off to rest after rolling up 315 yards on the ground in a 49-17 drubbing of Grambling in Week 1. Louisiana is operating under first-year head coach Billy Napier, who comes from a background as an offensive coordinator and is trying to get more out of an offense that reached 30 points once in its final eight games last season.

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network. LINE: Mississippi State -31.5

ABOUT LOUISIANA (1-0): Napier is committed to building a winning program in Lafayette and spent the bye week going back to a training camp format while drilling the players on preparation. "We've got to focus on our preparation no matter what the opponent," Napier told reporters. "We're trying to establish a culture here. ... I think it's important that our players buy into this in-season routine and how we prepare, and that's really what we've got to focus on at this point." Quarterback Andre Nunez certainly looked well prepared in Week 1, when he completed 19-of-22 passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns - setting a school record for completion percentage in a game with at least 20 attempts.

ABOUT MISSISSIPPI STATE (2-0): Fitzgerald's return wasn't the only spark for the Bulldogs last week, as sophomore running back Kylin Hill exploded for a career-high 211 yards and two TDs on 17 carries. "It's crazy," Hill told reporters. "It's a dream come true. I don't even know how many yards I had, but the team just kept telling me to keep running. My offensive line did a terrific job. They played unbelievable." The Mississippi State offense is so loaded with weapons that quarterback Keytaon Thompson, who threw for 364 yards, ran for 109 and totaled seven TDs in Week 1, did not even make it off the bench against Kansas State.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Fitzgerald (2,645) passed Dak Prescott for the school record for rushing yards by a QB last week and is 303 yards away from breaking Tim Tebow's SEC mark.

2. Ragin Cajuns RB Trey Ragas led the team with 142 yards and a score on 13 carries in Week 1.

3. The Bulldogs recorded 25 tackles for loss in the first two games.

PREDICTION: Mississippi State 52, Louisiana 14
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
UL Lafayette 1-0 W1 49.0 17.0 1-0 0-0 0-0 1-0 0-0
Mississippi State 2-0 W2 47.0 8.0 1-0 1-0 1-0 0-0 0-0
Last Meeting
UL Lafayette Mississippi State
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
9/5/87 ULL 3 MSST 31 0 0 0 0 0 0
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
UL Lafayette N/A
Mississippi State N/A
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
UL Lafayette N/A
Mississippi State N/A
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
UL Lafayette N/A
Mississippi State N/A
Touchdowns Player TD
UL Lafayette N/A
Mississippi State N/A
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
UL Lafayette A. Nunez 86.4 184 2 0
Mississippi State K. Thompson 41.9 364 5 0
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
UL Lafayette T. Ragas 13 142 10.9 1
Mississippi State K. Hill 26 261 10.0 3
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
UL Lafayette J. Bradley 6 70 11.7 2
Mississippi State O. Mitchell 3 119 39.7 2
Touchdowns Player TD
UL Lafayette J. Bradley 2
Mississippi State K. Hill 5
Quickchart Matchup
UL Lafayette UL Lafayette Off vs  Mississippi State Mississippi State Def
UL Lafayette 556 yards
Mississippi State 233.5 yards
UL Lafayette 7.3 yards/rush
Mississippi State 2.5 yards/rush
UL Lafayette 8 yards/attempt
Mississippi State 4.8 yards/attempt
Mississippi State Mississippi State Off vs  UL Lafayette UL Lafayette Def
Mississippi State 578 yards
UL Lafayette 306 yards
Mississippi State 7.9 yards/rush
UL Lafayette 4.1 yards/rush
Mississippi State 9 yards/attempt
UL Lafayette 5.5 yards/attempt