MISSISSIPPI STATE BULLDOGS VS. ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS
RECORDS: Mississippi State (7-3, 3-3) | Arkansas (4-6, 1-5)
RANKINGS: Mississippi State (#16 CFB Playoff, #18 S&P+) | Arkansas (#99 S&P+)
TIME: 11 a.m. CT/Noon ET
TV CHANNEL: CBS (Check local listings)
SPREAD: Mississippi State opened as an 11.5-point fave. The line jumped to 13/13.5.
O/U: The total opened at 59. It went down to 58.5, 58 and 57.5 in some locations.
RECORDS ATS: Mississippi State (7-3) | Arkansas (2-8)
The first matchup between these two teams took place in Memphis, Tennessee on November 30, 1916. The next time they faced each other - 1939 - also took place in Memphis. Both times, State won, picking up 20-7 and 19-0 victories.
It wouldn’t be until 1992 that these two teams would collide again. They have done so annually since, playing in Starkville, Fayetteville and Little Rock.
Arkansas currently leads the all-time series, 16-10-1. The Hogs, however, have lost four of the last five meetings. Before this run, though, they held a firm advantage over them. From 1998-2011, Arkansas was 12-2.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Arkansas’ run game
The Hogs haven’t had the greatest of seasons this year. That hasn’t stopped their rushing attack from being one of the best units in the country. Devwah Whaley, Chase Hayden and David Williams are as good a trio as you’ll find, even in this forgettable season. Last week, they were bottled up by LSU’s dominant defense, but this week they’ll have to crack the code against Mississippi State.
State couldn’t really contain ‘Bama, as the Tide ran for 6.79 yards per carry last weekend in Starkville. Whaley, Hayden and Williams certainly have the talent to gash that defense again. It wouldn’t be surprising if they leaned on them to get them this win. The Bulldogs will have to be careful, because it’s entirely possible that they get scorched again.
Avoiding a letdown
Last week, State tussled with Alabama in an emotional encounter. The Tide walked out a winer, and despite some bungles, it was one of State’s best efforts this season.
Now, though, they have to change course and do so quickly. Arkansas, while still porous, can easily take them off guard. Especially if their aforementioned run game gets going. They will have to put the efforts of last week in the rearview and set the course for the present and future now. It starts with this Saturday morning tussle.
A big day for Fitzgerald?
Nick Fitzgerald won’t have his hands very full against Arkansas. The Razorbacks defense isn’t exactly up to snuff, so we could get a big day out of the dual-threat star. Fitzgerald has lit up the stat sheet on a number of occasions this season. Despite the early start time, we could be treated to another one if he plays up to par.