When and where: November 10, 2018, Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, AL, 3:30 PM ET
The Mississippi State Bulldogs will be the 10th team this season to try their hand at dethroning the Alabama Crimson Tide. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, they’ll have to figure out a way to accomplish that feat at Bryant-Denny Stadium in the heart of Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide are fresh off a shutout win over LSU, while the Bulldogs are coming off a blowout victory over Louisiana Tech.
Alabama makes a statement against LSU
Alabama put all of the questions regarding its strength of schedule to bed last Saturday night, along with bitter SEC rival LSU. Rammer Jammer was the lullaby as LSU was shutout on their home field.
The Crimson Tide are rolling over every opponent in their path to a second consecutive national title. This might be the greatest college football team of all time. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, a Heisman Trophy candidate, has finally given head coach Nick Saban the offense of his dreams to go along with his dominant defense. By manhandling LSU, they proved there isn’t a better all-around team in the country.
You know it’s bad when talking heads are resorting to accusing Alabama of making college football boring. As if Saban should dial back his greatness to give some other team a chance to win.
Tagovailoa finished the game against LSU with 295 passing yards and two touchdowns, along with a rushing touchdown on a 44-yard quarterback sneak.
— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) November 4, 2018
On the other side of the ball, the defense feasted on LSU quarterback Joe Burrow with five sacks, seven pass deflections and 10 tackles for a loss.
Fitzgerald the key to Mississippi State’s offense
Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald was a one-man wrecking crew on the field against an average Louisiana Tech defense. He threw for 243 yards and four touchdowns, along with rushing for 107 yards.
7⃣ ➡️🏈 8⃣6⃣
— MSU Football 🏈 (@HailStateFB) November 6, 2018
Louisiana Tech simply lacked the personnel to match-up with an offense built around Fitzgerald’s versatility.
However, it’s on the defensive side of the ball where Mississippi State truly shines. They’re holding opponents to less points per game (12.3) than even Alabama (14.1). It’s a stingy unit that’s stout against the run and the pass and rarely gives up big plays. Opponents are averaging only 278.7 yards of total offense against them, which is also better than Alabama (295.4).
For Mississippi State to even have a shot at pulling off the upset, Fitzgerald will have to play the best game of his collegiate career. LSU also had a good defense, and the Crimson Tide still figured out a way to drop 29 points on them. There is no question Tagovailoa will move the ball on this Mississippi State defense.
Fitzgerald and the Mississippi State offense’s ability to respond will be the difference between winning and losing.
- Crimson Tide are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games played on grass
- Crimson Tide are 4-1 ATS against teams with a winning record
- Crimson Tide are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games after an ATS win
- Crimson Tide are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games after accumulating more than 200 rushing yards in the previous game
- Bulldogs are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games played within their conference
- Bulldogs are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games played on the road
- Away team is 2-6 ATS in the last 8 head-to-head meetings
- Bulldogs are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 head-to-head meetings in Alabama
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Louisiana Tech wasn’t able to slow down the Mississippi State offense, but they were able to get consistent pressure on Fitzgerald, which is a bad sign heading into a game against Alabama’s ferocious defensive front. It’s was only a couple weeks ago when Mississippi State’s offense was completely shut down by LSU, 19-3.
Fitzgerald looked far less superhuman in that game, finishing with eight completions for 59 yards and four interceptions. Now, he’ll take on arguably the best defense in the country that just held LSU scoreless in a road game. Not to mention this game will be played in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
The task of beating a team like Alabama also comes with the gargantuan challenge of slowing down their high-powered offense. Mississippi State has faced some talented teams, but they haven’t faced a challenge on this scale all season long. Alabama is averaging 51.3 points per game on offense, and their defense is holding opponents to 14.1 points.
There isn’t enough luck in the world that can tilt this game in Mississippi State’s favor.
Prediction: Alabama Crimson Tide (-26)
Full-Game Total Pick
Alabama’s vaunted defense will do its job and hold Mississippi State to no more than one touchdown in this game. Fitzgerald hasn’t looked as good against elite defensive opposition. Tagovailoa will have a more efficient day than he did coming off a bye week against LSU, but I have enough respect for Mississippi State’s defense to think they can keep this from being another 40-plus point game. The under is 8-2-1 in the last 11 head-to-head meetings between these two teams.
Prediction: Under (52.5)