Mississippi State vs No. 2 Alabama Preview | 2020 NCAA Expert Analysis

Mike Leach’s first season as an SEC coach with Mississippi State hasn’t gone very well yet, and on Saturday he has to deal with superpower and second-ranked Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Per usual, the Crimson Tide are heavy favorites on the NCAAF odds.

How to Bet Mississippi State at Alabama NCAA Football Odds & TV Info

  • When: Saturday, 7 PM ET
  • Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium
  • TV: ESPN
  • Stream: ESPN app
  • Radio:com
  • Opening NCAAF Lines: Alabama -31 (total 63.5)

Last Meeting

Last year, the Tide routed Mississippi State 38-7 even though Bama QB Tua Tagovailoa suffered what would be a season-ending injury. Of course, he’s now with the Miami Dolphins. Tagovailoa was injured while being dragged down by two Bulldogs late in the first half, with the Tide up four touchdowns. Alabama was leading 35-7, but it was decided to let Tagovailoa play one more possession to get some work in the two-minute drill. e: The Bulldogs’ struggles on offensive continued against Alabama. Mississippi State had just 270 yards of offense and had only 82 yards passing. In the past two meetings with Alabama, the Bulldogs have mustered seven points.

MSU and Alabama are meeting for the 104th time. The Crimson Tide hold an 82-18-3 edge. Bama has won 11 straight in the series and six straight in Tuscaloosa. MSU’s last win over Alabama occurred on Nov. 10, 2007 by a score of 17-12 in Starkville.

Why Bet on Mississippi State? | 2020 NCAA Expert Analysis

Mississippi State (1-3) last played on Oct. 17 vs. then-No. 11 Texas A&M and lost its third in a row, 28-14. The Bulldogs got a 60-yard interception return for a score early in the third quarter to trim the Aggie lead to 14-7 but that was as close as MSU would get.

Forbes’ interception return was his second pick of the year and the first touchdown of his career. It was MSU’s longest interception return since Oct. 28, 2017, when Jamal Peters took one 90 yards for a touchdown at then-No. 24 Texas A&M.

State’s other score in the game came when quarterback Will Rogers connected with Malik Heath on a 32-yard strike in the fourth quarter. It was the first career touchdown for both Bulldogs and the longest play of their MSU careers. Rogers set a school record for single-game completion percentage (minimum 15 attempts). He completed 15-of-18 passes (83.3 percent) surpassing John Bond’s 13-of-16 (81.3 percent) performance at Tulane in 1982.

Defensive coordinator Zach Arnett has placed his defense among the top-15 nationally in run defense in each of the past three seasons, including a No. 15 ranking currently in 2020. The Bulldogs are second in the SEC, allowing just 103.25 yards per game on the ground. State is second in the SEC and is tied for 18th in the FBS in sacks per game (3.00). Last year, MSU finished with 28.0 sacks for the season. The Bulldogs already have 12.0 through four games in 2020.

MSU got some bad news this week when top running back Kylin Hill decided to opt out of the rest of the season to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft. Hill did not play in Mississippi State’s game against Texas A&M on Oct. 17 reportedly due to suspension. Monday, coach Mike Leach said Hill was still “unavailable” for Mississippi State’s game this weekend against No. 2 Alabama. Hill hasn’t been the same player who led the SEC in rushing last season with 1,350 yards. He has just 15 carries for 58 yards.

Mike Leach has met Alabama once before in the 2006 Cotton Bowl. Leach’s 2005 No. 18 Texas Tech team lost to the No. 13 Crimson Tide by a field goal, 13-10, on Jan. 2, 2006.

Why Bet on Alabama? | 2020 NCAA Expert Analysis

Alabama (5-0) had little trouble last week in a 48-17 win at Tennessee. The win extended several streaks for the Crimson Tide, including 14-straight victories against the Volunteers, 29-consecutive wins against Southeastern Conference East Division opponents and 94 straight against unranked opponents.

The victory also gave UA head coach Nick Saban his fourth of the season over a former assistant coach, moving him to 23-0 against his protégés during his time as Alabama’s head coach.

With its 48 points against the Vols, Alabama has now tallied 35-or-more points in each of its last 18 games, the longest streak in major college football history. Najee Harris led the scoring with three rushing touchdowns to go with a game-best 96 yards on the ground as well as 61-receiving yards.

Mac Jones set an Alabama record with 19-consecutive completions after closing last week’s Georgia game with eight straight and starting Saturday’s contest with 11 in a row. On the day, Jones was 25-of-31 for 387 through the air, adding a one-yard rushing touchdown in the first quarter.

However, electric receiver Jaylen Waddle was lost to a season-ending fractured ankle. Waddle, a preseason All-America selection, was hurt when he took the opening kickoff out to the Alabama 15. He was tackled by Kenneth George Jr., and Waddle’s right foot got caught between the grass and George’s body. The junior from Houston opened this season with at least 120 yards receiving in each of the first four games and led Alabama with 557 yards on just 25 catches. Waddle was averaging 22.3 yards per catch and had four touchdowns. He had 733 yards on punt returns in his career, ranking sixth in Alabama history.

This game will be the 10th straight in the series that Alabama is ranked inside the top five at the time of the matchup. The Bulldogs’ last victory in Tuscaloosa was Nov. 4, 2006, by a score of 24-16.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban has been dominant in the month of October during his time in Tuscaloosa. Saban has compiled a 48-2 (.960) mark with the only two losses coming on the road during that time. Overall, Alabama has defeated 94 consecutive unranked teams under Saban, the longest streak in FBS history.

Game Trends

  • Bulldogs are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 conference games.
  • Bulldogs are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games as a road underdog.
  • Crimson Tide are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games as a home favorite.
  • Bulldogs are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 meetings in Alabama.
  • Under is 10-2-1 in the last 13 meetings.

Expert Prediction

Alabama 45, Mississippi State 13


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