Game Time: Noon ET
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Odds: Alabama -30, Over/Under 54
People largely gave Mississippi State (4-5, 2-3 SEC) little chance as an underdog last week against Texas A&M but the Bulldogs are hoping to pull an even bigger upset as they travel to Tuscaloosa to take on Alabama.
1) Nick Fitzgerald vs. the Alabama Defense
The Mississippi State signal caller has rushed for at least 100 yards in three straight games including 182 yards last week (along with Aeris Williams running for 140 yards against A&M). Fitzgerald’s also contributed a pair of rushing touchdowns in each of the last four games. Alabama, meanwhile, has not yielded a 100 yard rusher since October 3, 2015 when Nick Chubb ran for 146 yards. While Georgia got blown out in that game, if Mississippi State is to have any chance, they will have to get the running game going with Fitzgerald and that’s a tall task.
2) The Alabama Passing Game vs. Mississippi State
Mississippi State enters the game with the worst passing defense in the SEC at 264 yards per game and 21 touchdowns. The first number is skewed somewhat by giving up 468 passing yards to “Air-Raid” FCS opponent Samford, but Alabama and Jalen Hurts should be able to throw the ball to set up the run against the Bulldogs. Hurts’ passing output has decreased in every game since throwing for 262 yards against Kentucky but should be able to get numbers if Alabama needs it against the Mississippi State defense.
3) The Hangover?
Both teams had big wins last week with Mississippi State playing their best game of the year against Texas A&M while Alabama had their emotional rivalry win over LSU. With the early kickoff, which team will be able to shake off the cobwebs and get going with the early kickoff. That generally seems to favor the road team, but I just do not foresee the Bulldogs having enough firepower to stay with the Crimson Tide. Mississippi State keeps it close for a half before Alabama pulls away in the second half.