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September 17, 2010Gearing up for the first road contest of the season, the Bulldogs will journey to the bayou for a SEC competition against LSU. The game will be nationally televised by ESPNU - the third time that State has appeared on the network. The kickoff is schedule for a 6 p.m. CT.
Although the Bulldogs face the Tigers at Death Valley, Dan Mullen is hopeful that his team will play better than they did in the past.
"Anytime you go down to LSU it's obviously a tough place to play," Mullen said. "At night a road game down there is a great atmosphere for college football. It poses an exciting challenge for our football team. We played them really well last year but I sound like a broken record. We came up minus-4 in the turnover ratio and made critical mistakes and lost the game. Hopefully we will get those things cleaned up at practice this week and find a way to pick up a road win in the SEC."
The Bulldogs are bouncing are back from a upsetting 14-17 lost to Auburn. Since 2000, State is 6-10 in games following a defeat by seven or fewer points, but under coach Mullen the team is 1-1 after a close loss.
Since former Bulldog Jamar Chaney now plays with the Philadelphia Eagles, Chris White had some big shoes to fill switching from outside linebacker to the middle of the field, and he is filling them well. White achieved 17 total tackles and recorded 3.5 tackles for loss, a new career high, and the highest total of tackles behind the line for a Bulldog linebacker since Chaney reach the same number in 2006 against Kentucky.
"From day one on campus his work ethic has been unbelievable," Mullen said. "He's been a champion every quarter since he's been here in our champions program. He does everything the right way on and off the field. He really works and is a greater leader by example than other guys."
Fellow teammate K.J. Wright also had a good showing in last Thursday's game posting a double-digit tackle total with 10. Senior linebacker Emmanuel Gatling ushered in a career-best six stops on the evening.
Senior team captain Pernell McPhee posted a team-leading 12.0 tackles for loss. In the beginning of the 2010 campaign, McPhee recorded 2.0 behind the line of scrimmage, continuing his 1.0 TFL-per-game average.
Last weekend against Auburn, redshirt freshman safety Nickoe Whitley picked his first career interception. Whitley is now the sixth man of the Bulldog defensive backfield with at least one career interception.
The LSU match-up against State will serve as the Tiger's annual "Gold Game" where students and fans are asked to wear gold to the game.
LSU comes off an electrifying 27-3 win on the road against Vanderbilt last weekend. The Tigers, who are 2-0 overall and 1-0 in the SEC, reached the No. 12 spot on the USA Today Coaches' Poll and No. 15 in the AP Top 25 this week.
The Tigers have a 10 straight game winning steak against, which the Bulldogs hope to end this upcoming weekend. In the two schools last meeting, LSU holds a 30-26 victory in 2009 season game in Starkville.
"When you play in the Southeastern Conference, you are going to be in a tough game every single week within conference play," Mullen said. "One win is not going to get you over the hump. We had big wins over the school up North and Kentucky last year and were games that came down to the wire and we managed to make the plays there at the end. This year we've had one close game and we didn't make the play at the end."
Next Saturday the Bulldogs will play the University of Georgia on Scott Field in Starkville.