Simmons was selected as the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week following his impressive performance.
Despite the Bulldogs success they will enter the game against LSU as seven-point underdogs.
History is on LSU’s side, winning 28 of the last 32 meetings, including 16 of the last 17. However, in recent years MSU has held their own; winning by a score of 34-29 in 2014, then losing in 2015 and 2016 by three points or less.
The LSU offense, powered by the explosive running from Derrius Guise, presents the Bulldog defense with their biggest challenge of the season thus far. The LSU offense outscored their first two opponents of the season 72-10.
Head coach Dan Mullen complimented the LSU offense and their ability to move the ball. Mullen said the Tigers rely on their ability to run the ball to open other opportunities on offense.
“[LSU] is built on running the football, and obviously they’ve got some fantastic running backs and a good offensive line. It starts with the run game for them,” Mullen said. “You know they’re going to do a great job of scheming you to try to gain the numbers advantage and be able to run the football. They set up the pass game off the run.”
Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said he respects LSU’s ability to create mismatches through pre-snap movement. Grantham said it is crucial for the outside linebackers to set the edge and not be distracted by wide receivers in motion.
Another key to MSU’s success this weekend will come down to Grantham’s confidence in his ability to rotate players as frequently as he has in the first two games. Both Mullen and Grantham stress the importance of keeping players fresh.
Grantham also believes MSU has the athletes to create advantageous match-ups at any level of the defense.
“It’s all about match-ups, and you’ve got to play people relative to how they are playing and what they are doing with their personnel,” Grantham said.
Grantham emphasized all 11 players need to fly to the ball to prevent any extra yards after first contact. However, Grantham said they are not overhauling their defense for this game, the team is preparing the same it would for any other game.
Jeffery Simmons reiterated Grantham’s sentiments on how the team is approaching this game. Expressing the fact the lights might get brighter and the stage might get bigger, but at the end of the day the difference between 3-0 and 2-1 will be their tenacity on every play.
“My mindset is to just go with relentless effort,” Simmons said. “They [LSU] strap their stuff on the same way we do. We are going to take this game just like another game on the schedule we aren’t going to change anything, we just have to work a little harder than we have”
Junior defensive tackle, Braxton Hoyett, will be on the first line of defense against LSU’s high octane run game. Hoyett believes the way he and his fellow defensive lineman have banded together has made the difference in the Bulldogs initial success on defense.
“We play together as one,” Hoyett said. “If something bad happens we don’t bash each other we come together and fix the problem because we want to be the best D-line in the conference and nation.”
Hoyett said the defensive line’s goal for the game is simple, stop the run. While there are many components that go into stopping Derrius Guice and the others, Hoyett believes if they can knock the offensive line back, let the linebackers fill the holes, and ultimately force LSU quarterback Danny Etling to throw the ball, the Bulldogs will win.
The game will be at 6 p.m. Sept. 16 at Davis Wade Stadium and will televise on ESPN.
“We expect a great home crowd and the great home-field advantage you usually get during SEC games,” Mullen said. “It’ll be a great environment and an exciting time. We’re fired up.”