When: Noon ET/11 a.m. CT, Saturday, November 4, 2017
Where: Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field, Starkville, Miss.
TV coverage: SEC Network
Online stream: WatchESPN
All-time series: Mississippi State leads 1-0
Last meeting: Mississippi State won 47-35 last season
Odds (via oddsshark.com): Mississippi State -32; over/under 57
After Mississippi State went leafing in New England last fall, UMass returns the trip to Starkville this Saturday.
The Minutemen enter the game 2-6 but come in with two straight wins including an upset victory over Appalachian State last week (enough to garner a mention as a team of the week at the mothership). All of their losses were of a margin of fewer than 10 points and, earlier in the season, they lost at Tennessee by four points, 17-13.
While UMass has given some tough games to SEC teams in recent years, they have never beaten a power five program (in 24 attempts). Last year’s Mississippi State game was a 12 point loss in which the Minutemen were competitive throughout along with a six point loss at South Carolina in 2016 and a three point loss in 2014 at Vanderbilt.
Senior tight end Adam Breneman is a key figure for Mississippi State to stop. The former freshman All-American (247Sports) at Penn State transferred to UMass for his final two years of eligibility. Entering Penn State, Breneman was a four-star prospect and was ranked as the second best tight end (behind O.J. Howard) in the 2013 recruiting class. Despite missing the Tennessee game, Breneman has hauled in 605 yards and three touchdowns.
Mississippi State is 6-2 on the year against the spread, but a 32 point line seems very large. With Alabama upcoming for the Bulldogs (along with Arkansas and Ole Miss), Dan Mullen may be looking to clear the bench if the Bulldogs would get out to a large lead. Given the amount of close games played by UMass, they may not have the opportunity to pull the starters as early as hoped.
Bill C.’s numbers have Mississippi State projected to win 35-17 and that seems about right. Mississippi State will try to run the ball as much as possible to shorten the game and a game that’s tight at halftime will be a couple touchdown win by the end.