Game Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
TV: SEC Network
Live Stream: WatchESPN
No point spread listed.
Mississippi State’s woes continued last Saturday as they fell victim to the suddenly hot Kentucky Wildcats.
The Bulldogs dropped their third in a row and fourth loss in their last five games in Lexington, leaving them at 2-5 with the possibility of a bowl game shrinking by the week.
Especially so when you consider that after this upcoming tilt with Samford, the Bulldogs will be tasked with facing Texas A&M, Alabama, Arkansas and Ole Miss in four consecutive weeks.
What has plagued Mississippi State this season, for the most part, has been the play of their defense. They’re letting up a lot of explosive plays and allowing teams to obtain high rushing and passing success rates.
The main troubles have come through the air, as their Passing S&P+ ranking is at a dismal 106 (There are 128 teams in the FBS, as a reminder). The Bulldogs should get a confidence boost playing a team from the FCS this weekend as there will be a substantial difference with regards to talent on the field in Starkville.
Has that stopped them from letting mediocre teams hang with them? Not so much, but this is a very winnable game for Mississippi State.
The offense, specifically the ground game, hasn’t proved to be a weakness at all. State’s ground game ranks 10th in Rushing S&P+ and 14th in IsoPPP, so they’re getting a good chunk of big plays. Doing that against an FCS should come with ease, so expect the likes of dual-threat quarterback Nick Fitzgerald and senior running back Brandon Holloway to do their thing.
The main detriment on offense has been through the air as Fitzgerald has thrown for merely 1,079 yards with a completion percentage of just 55.9 percent. Digging deeper, they’re ranked 83rd in Passing S&P+, 82nd in Success Rate, and 115th in IsoPPP. It’s easy to diagnose the problems, and this will again give them an opportunity to build up confidence against a lesser foe on Saturday afternoon.
All told, this is again a very winnable game for State. They are projected to win by nearly 20 points, and Vegas hasn’t even bothered to put up a point spread for the game.
The woes in Starkville have been worrisome, but enough to suggest they’d lose to Samford? We don’t know about that.