Missouri preview

Dak Prescott owns 36 school records at Mississippi State.  (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Dak Prescott owns 36 school records at Mississippi State. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Mississippi State has not played on the road on a Thursday night since it opened the 2011 campaign at Memphis, which resulted in a 59-14 victory.

The 24th-ranked Bulldogs are hoping for similar results as they travel to Missouri for an 8 p.m. contest tonight on ESPN.

“It’s a Thursday night game on the road in a hostile environment against a team that’s won the SEC East for two years now,” said MSU quarterback Dak Prescott. “It’s going to be a good game. We expect their defense to come out, being one of the best in the conference. We expect them to come out and play us hard. We’re ready for this challenge.”

It will be the first time the two teams have met as members of the Southeastern Conference. The Tigers have won the two previous gridiron contests, with the last a 47-30 victory in Columbia in 1984.

State and Missouri enter tonight’s match-up on opposite ends of the spectrum. The Bulldogs (6-2, 2-2 SEC) are riding a three-game winning streak while the Tigers have dropped three straight and have not scored a touchdown over that span.

To make matters worse for Missouri (4-4, 1-3 SEC), junior quarterback Maty Mauk was suspended for the remainder of the year on Sunday after just being reinstated last week from a four-game suspension.

True freshman Drew Lock will make his fifth straight start as the Tigers’ signal caller. Lock has completed only 50.7 percent of his passes for 763 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions on the year.

“I don’t know that it had a dramatic impact on our preparation,” said MSU defensive coordinator Manny Diaz. “Just about every game we had in our breakdown was of (Lock) playing. Even in the games prior, they were running basically the same plays. We understand on the board what we’re going to get and I think that Lock has shown he’s more than capable of making plays.”

Lock led the Tigers to a 24-10 home win over South Carolina in his first career start but the offense has not been able generate a touchdown since the third quarter of that game on Oct. 3.

Diaz grounded his defense this week by showing them 14 plays over the last three games that Missouri should have scored on.

“They’re actually a real good team,” said MSU linebacker Beniquez Brown. “We watched film and there were a lot of plays that they were supposed to have touchdowns on. They didn’t but they’re capable of scoring so we don’t look at their stats where they haven’t scored in those games because they had opportunities.”

Both teams enjoyed a bye weekend prior to tonight’s contest.

I have covered Mississippi State in some capacity since 2004 and joined the Daily Journal staff in 2013. I enjoy short walks on the beach, performing concerts in my car and watching professional wrestling.

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