KEYS FOR VICTORY
1. Stay hot on offense
Mississippi State was able to generate 556 yards and 41 points at Texas A&M. If the Bulldogs are able to generate similar numbers against Alabama they will have a chance at the upset.
MSU has used a balanced attack on offense all season and did so last weekend as well. The Bulldogs had 299 rushing yards and 257 passing yards against the Aggies. Dak Prescott ran for a career-high 154 yards, threw two touchdowns and one interception.
2. Don’t be intimidated
Alabama’s achievements over the past few years and historically have been well documented. With the Bulldogs close proximity to Tuscaloosa, they might understand better than most the Tide’s laurels.
State cannot afford to let any of Alabama’s mystique to carry onto the field tonight.
3. Sound special teams
Special teams killed any hopes of the Bulldogs pulling the upset last week. Mississippi State had a punt blocked for a safety, had a field goal blocked, gave up a 97-yard kickoff return and roughed the punter.
Special teams have plagued the Bulldogs most of the season. MSU has struggled with field goal consistency and facing a stout Tide defense, the Bulldogs have to put up points whenever possible. Punt returns for the year were in negative yardage until last week.
WHAT TO WATCH
When MSU has the ball
All eyes will be on the Bulldogs quarterback situation once again. Dak Prescott was forced to leave last week’s game with a left shoulder stinger and missed two days of practice this week. Tyler Russell started last week’s game after Prescott missed two practices due to the death of his mother and could likely be the starter again tonight.
True freshman receiver De’Runnya Wilson had a breakout game against Texas A&M hauling in seven passes for 75 yards and two touchdowns. The former Mr. Basketball in Alabama gives the Bulldogs a legitimate deep threat to throw to.
When Alabama has the ball
Not many questions are raised concerning Alabama’s offensive scheme. The Crimson Tide are physical up front and plan to pound it out on the ground and keep the chains moving. Alabama has a bevy of young and talented to backs and a fifth-year senior quarterback in AJ McCarron.
Alabama features five wideouts with two or more touchdown passes and four with 250 or more receiving yards.
Alabama’s run game vs. MSU’s front seven
The Tide will attempt to establish the running game early and it is imperative for State to contain Alabama on the ground. The Bulldogs held Texas A&M to just 91 yards rushing last week and needs their defensive linemen and linebackers to clog up running lanes.
Alabama enters the game averaging 208.8 yards per game on the ground.