Auburn (3-2) vs Mississippi State (2-2)

After five straight home games to open the season, Auburn faces its first road test Saturday at Mississippi State (Enter Contests). The game, meanwhile, will be the first home date for the Bulldogs in nearly a month as they’re coming off two road games followed by a bye last weekend.

ABOUT AUBURN

The Tigers have played a demanding schedule so far, going 1-2 against ranked foes Clemson, Texas A&M and LSU, mixed in with blowout wins over Arkansas State and last week against ULM.  They’ve have posted the best rushing numbers (269.8 yards per game) in the SEC so far behind tailbacks Kerryon Johnson (103.4) and Kamryn Pettway (84.0). Pettway didn’t play last Saturday’s 56-7 win over ULM. It was for precautionary measure because of a bruised quad. He’s expected to return this Saturday along with center Xavier Dampeer, who was also held out last week.

The Auburn defense, led by cornerback Johnathan Ford (31 total tackles) and defensive end Carl Lawson (four sacks) has held four of five foes to fewer than 20 points and ranks fifth in the conference in total defense (358.4 yards allowed per game). Quarterback Sean White has completed 33-of-43 passes for 473 yards, two TDs and no interceptions over the last two games. Auburn has dominated the overall series 61-26-2, but Mississippi State has won three of the last four, including a 17-9 road victory last season.

ABOUT MISSISSIPPI STATE

Mississippi State, meanwhile, has had an up-and-down first month, losing to South Alabama (21-20) in the opener and then alternating wins and a loss against South Carolina, LSU and Massachusetts. The Bulldogs will be countering Auburn’s ground game with the SEC’s fourth-ranked run defense (110.8 yards allowed), which is headed by conference tackles-for-loss leader (9.0) A.J. Jefferson, a senior defensive end. Sophomore quarterback Nick Fitzgerald has taken over for Dak Prescott and had 415 yards of total offense and three touchdowns in the Sept. 24 win over UMass. Fitzgerald also is Mississippi State’s leading rusher with 82.2 yards per outing. Wideout Fred Ross is second in the conference in receptions per game (6.2) and tied for third with four total receiving TDs. Ross’ 152 career receptions leads all active SEC players.

Posted in CFB

Fanpicks.com College Football Bowl Game Preview

Belk Bowl

Mississippi State vs. North Carolina State

The Belk Bowl will feature another exciting game between Mississippi State and North Carolina State.  Fanpicks.com the premiere daily fantasy sports site is proud to provide you with the following bowl preview in which we predict will be taken by Mississippi State in a close 30 – 27 final score.  Play the best fantasy college football contests only at Fanpicks.com

A pair of potent offenses and dual-threat quarterbacks square off when Mississippi State takes on North Carolina State in the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, N.C. Both teams average more than 400 total yards and 33 points per game, and their talented quarterbacks are the catalysts. Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott has passed for 3,413 yards with 25 touchdowns and four interceptions while rushing for 541 yards and 10 more scores; N.C. State’s Jacoby Brissett has rolled up 2,448 passing yards with 19 touchdowns and four interceptions while adding 303 yards and five TDs on the ground.

N.C. State should enjoy a de facto home-field advantage. The Wolfpack are playing a short distance from home and have 15 players from the Charlotte area, including TE/FB Jaylen Samuels (315 rushing yards, 7 TDs; 64 receptions, 599 yards, 7 TDs). It will be the third time the Wolfpack have played in the bowl, where they defeated Louisville 31-24 in 2011 and beat South Florida 14-0 in the 2005 game, then known as the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

Both coaches have enjoyed success in bowl games. Dan Mullen has Mississippi State in its sixth bowl in seven years and has posted a 3-2 record, though the Bulldogs have lost two of their last three bowls – including a 49-34 loss to Georgia Tech in last year’s Orange Bowl. N.C. State’s Dave Doeren is 2-0 in bowl games, including a 34-27 win over UCF in last year’s St. Petersburg Bowl – his first postseason trip with the Wolfpack.

NORTH CAROLINA STATE Season Overview (7-5, 3-5 ACC): The Wolfpack rolled through a weak non-conference schedule and took care of the bottom tier of the ACC, but they lack a signature win. Their impressive offensive totals are skewed somewhat by rolling up big numbers against weak competition, but they did put up 514 total yards against North Carolina and 389 versus top-ranked Clemson and are at their best when the ground game led by Matt Dayes (865 yards, 12 TDs) is working. The defense also was impressive against the weaker teams on the schedule but was exposed by Clemson (623 total yards), Florida State (479) and North Carolina (553).

MISSISSIPPI STATE Season Overview (8-4, 4-4 SEC): While Prescott is the engine, the Bulldogs are far from a one-man team, as Fred Ross (81 catches, 933 yards, 4 TDs) and De’Runnya Wilson (55 catches, 822 yards, 9 TDs) lead a talented receiving corps. Turnovers were a major problem late in the season, though, as Mississippi State had nine giveaways over its final four games, including at least two in each contest. The defense had its share of struggles against top competition, especially against the run, as five opponents rolled up more than 200 rushing yards against the Bulldogs with another finishing just six yards shy of that mark.

 

Posted in CFB