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SEC Upset Special: Mississippi State vs. Alabama

Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott (Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports)
Oct 24, 2013; Starkville, MS, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs quarterback Dak Prescott (15) prepares for a pass during the game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Davis Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

It’s still shocking to me the lack of respect for Mississippi State. The No. 1 team in the country has a strong résumé, with wins at LSU and at home versus Auburn and Texas A&M.

Despite mowing down their schedule, the Bulldogs will enter Saturday’s game as 8-point underdogs. I get it–it’s the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide playing at home–but Saban’s group would have three losses if Arkansas or LSU could complete a 10-yard pass.

Mississippi State will win this game Saturday, likely punching its ticket for the playoff, and here’s why.

Mississippi State’s Run Game

The balance Dan Mullen’s group has offensively is the kind of thing that wins national titles. Their run game has been dominant, and Dak Prescott has moved the ball well through the air  also.

Josh Robinson has 984 yards rushing, including 197 against a very solid LSU front. Drawing Tebow comparisons, Prescott has also utilized the power run game, rushing for 779 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Prescott has made himself a Heisman contender by leading his team to victory every week.

Prescott has made himself a Heisman contender by leading his team to victory every week.

Alabama gave up 183 yards on the ground to LSU last week, and LSU was one-dimensional. The Tide knew the run was coming and still couldn’t stop it at times, so I think Mississippi State can control this game by running the ball.

Bulldogs D/Lack of Balance from Alabama

As good as Prescott has been, the Bulldogs defense has been overlooked. They are only allowing 19.7 points per game–good for 16th in the nation–and the schedule has seen some very good offenses.

Alabama has always prided itself on running the football, but the ground game hasn’t been as explosive this season. Yeldon and Henry have been getting solid yardage, but the rushing game has been slowed down at times.

Alabama 2013 spring preview

Alabama’s run game hasn’t been as dominant this season.

Blake Sims has led the Tide to victory, but it hasn’t always been pretty. He struggled against Ole Miss and LSU, and I’m just not sure I trust him to win a big game.

Conclusion

Mississippi State has proven all year that it is one of the most complete teams in the country. The Bulldogs are a well-coached group that plays well on both sides of the ball.

Last week’s game was very physical for Alabama, and I think that could affect them this Saturday.

This will be a close game, just because both teams know what is at stake, but I like Mullen’s group to continue the Cinderella season.

Mississippi State 28, Alabama 27

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3 thoughts on “SEC Upset Special: Mississippi State vs. Alabama”

  1. Jeff says:

    I am with you on Miss St, however, I was wondering if you thought their secondary was exploitable?

    • Zach says:

      Yeah I would definitely say that their secondary is exploitable. We have saw teams like LSU and Kentucky (among others) have success against them, and they rank near the bottom of teams in terms of pass defense, but I don’t think that will be a huge factor in this game.

      I expect Miss. St to double Cooper, and I don’t trust Sims to consistently beat anyone down the field. State is very physical with their front seven, and I think that will help cover up the deficiencies on the back end.

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