Updated: Saturday, September 27, 2003 8:51 AM EDT
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No. 7 LSU (4-0) at Mississippi St (0-3)
LSU TIGERS
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MISSISSIPPI ST. BULLDOGS
Mississippi St. Bulldogs
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STARKVILLE, Mississippi (Ticker) -- In what shapes up as a mismatch, seventh-ranked Louisiana State visits Mississippi State in a Southeastern Conference contest.

But after last week's emotional 17-10 victory over Georgia, LSU coach Nick Saban is wary of a letdown against the Bulldogs, who are off to their worst start in 35 years.

Saban pointed to three upsets last week - Toledo over Pittsburgh, Marshall over Kansas State and Northern Illinois over Alabama - to drive home his point.

"Even though everybody likes to just assume things, that is not the way it is," said Saban, whose team is seeking its first 5-0 start since 1973. "That is not the way it is in college football every week and it is not the way that it is in our league and I think everyone needs to understand that, including our players."

LSU (4-0, 1-0 SEC West) is facing a Mississippi State team that has lost eight in a row and is off to its worst start since 1968.

The Bulldogs' losing streak is the third-longest in school history and the longest since 1968, when Mississippi State (0-3, 0-0) lost its final 10 games in a 1-10 season.

"Mississippi State is a team that certainly needs to be respected," Saban said. "Their offensive team has put up almost 33 points a game and over 450 yards of offense a game. Kevin Fant has thrown for almost 300 yards a game."

The problem with Mississippi State is a defense that has allowed 37.7 points per game. Last week, the Bulldogs suffered a 42-35 loss to Houston as Cougars quarterback Kevin Kolb passed for 321 yards and four touchdowns.

LSU has not allowed a touchdown in the first half this season.

The Tigers got a leg up in the SEC West with last week's win over Georgia. Matt Mauck threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to Skyler Green with 1:22 left as the Tigers took advantage of three missed field goals by Billy Bennett, the most accurate kicker in Georgia history.

LSU defensive end Corey Webster has three interceptions in four games and is tied for the SEC lead. He was named the league's Defensive Player of the Week after recording nine tackles and an interception against Georgia.

LSU leads the all-time series, 60-33-3, winning the last three meetings, including a 31-13 victory last season.


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