Game Time: 7 p.m. ET
How to watch online: WatchESPN
The South Carolina Gamecocks and Mississippi State Bulldogs didn’t come into 2016 with high expectations, so their meeting on Saturday night in Starkville will cause for some semblance of intrigue in how each team will go from here. The Gamecocks are on the cusp of a 2-0 conference record while the Bulldogs are merely just looking to rebound off of a bad loss to South Alabama last week.
Three things to watch
1. The post-Dak Prescott Era continues: In the win-loss column, the Bulldogs aren’t doing so hotly with Dak Prescott now set up to start for the Dallas Cowboys in their season opener in the NFL. Mississippi State quarterback Damian Williams wasn’t so bad from an efficiency standpoint but he’ll likely need to stretch the field more if the Bulldogs want to get their offense going. His YPA was a meager 5.1 in the loss to the Jaguars and that simply won’t cut it going forward. We’ll see how the Bulldogs fare through the air in this encounter with the Gamecocks.
2. South Carolina’s fantastic freshmen: A.J. Turner and Bryan Edwards each had great debuts for the Gamecocks against Vanderbilt last Thursday. Turner hustled for 5.4 yards per carry and Edwards meanwhile caught eight passes and allotted 101 yards receiving including a 33-yard reception. Do they have enough in them for an encore against the Bulldogs? We’ll see, but either Perry Orth or Brandon McIlwain will be assisted by the youthful skill position players beside them.
3. 3rd down efficiency: Both teams were mired by poor performances on 3rd down last week. Despite the win, South Carolina went just 6-for-16 on 3rd downs last week. Mississippi State, meanwhile, fared much worse, going 2-for-9. This may be where the game is won on Saturday evening so we’ll have to keep our eye on how these teams do on this crucial down.