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When and where: November 17, 2018, Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field, Starkville, MS, 12:00 PM ET
The struggling Arkansas Razorbacks will be the first team to face the wrath of the Mississippi State Bulldogs on Saturday. A full week of stewing in a shutout loss to Alabama is more than enough to get the Bulldogs pumped up to play an Arkansas team that has only won one game in their last nine appearances. However, they did manage to somehow give LSU a run for its money last Saturday. Perhaps the second time will be the charm against Mississippi State.
Mississippi State could be out for redemption
There’s no shame in being handed a lopsided beating by arguably the greatest college football team of all time, which is exactly what happened to Mississippi State when they stood toe-to-toe with Alabama last Saturday.
The Bulldogs fought valiantly and even managed to rough up Alabama star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in the process, but they were left completely stifled by Alabama head coach Nick Saban’s defense. They were thoroughly beaten and shut out on the road, 24-0.
That alone should leave a bad taste in their mouths as they prepare to face the struggling Razorbacks. Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald will especially be looking for a bit of retribution after being held to only 11 completions for 125 yards by Alabama.
The only unit that can take a moral victory from their recent performance is the Bulldogs defense.
— MSU Football 🏈 (@HailStateFB) November 10, 2018
They forced Tagovailoa’s second interception of the season, along with competing in the trenches to come away with four sacks and seven tackles for a loss.
Arkansas nearly upsets LSU
No one expected LSU would be in for the fight of their life last Saturday when they went on the road to play Arkansas. Yet, the Razorbacks—a team that has only won two games so far this season—came within a touchdown of forcing the game into overtime.
Most of the credit goes to Arkansas’s defense, which gave up a lot of yards but managed to keep LSU out of the end zone. They also continuously showed up in third-down situations, holding the Tigers to 5-for-14 on third-down conversions.
Even though the defensive front was gashed on the ground by the running game, they brought pressure consistently against LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, who was sacked three times on the day. The Razorbacks defense came away with seven total tackles for a loss.
There wasn’t much offered on the offensive end for Arkansas outside of the fourth quarter, when they went on a 14-0 run. Quarterback Ty Storey threw for 200 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, and sophomore running back Rakeem Boyd was held to only 10 carries for 30 rushing yards in a 24-17 loss.
There was only so much the defense could do to keep up with a talented team like LSU, and they did enough to give the offense a chance to come away with the upset.
- Bulldogs are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games after an ATS loss
- Bulldogs are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games after a loss of more than 20 points
- Bulldogs are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games played at home
- Over is 6-1 in Razorbacks last 7 games after an ATS win
- Over is 4-0 in Razorbacks last 4 games after accumulating less than 275 total yards in the previous game
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Razorbacks won’t be catching lightning in a bottle twice in two weeks. They played as well as they could possibly play against LSU and still came away with a loss. It’s hard to envision them replicating that performance on the road at Mississippi State.
The truth is Arkansas’ defense hasn’t played well all season. Teams are averaging 32.7 points per game against them and 407.5 total yards. Things aren’t going to be magically fixed for them after one brilliant defensive performance against one of the country’s best teams.
The Bulldogs are coming off a game where they gave Tagovailoa, the leading Heisman candidate, all he could handle in the pocket. That’s bad news for a second consecutive week for Storey, who just felt the wrath of LSU’s defense.
Fitzgerald will return to his prolific throwing habits without being tasked with facing Alabama’s suffocating defense. This game will once again come down to Arkansas lacking the firepower to keep up with a superior and more talented football team.
Prediction: Mississippi State Bulldogs (-20.5)
Full-Game Total Pick
The over is 4-1 in the last five games played between the Bulldogs and Razorbacks at Mississippi State. While the Bulldogs are far from an elite offense, they are capable of pouring it on lesser defenses when Fitzgerald is comfortable in the pocket. That’ll be the case on Saturday as Arkansas’ breakthrough performance against LSU proves to be an anomaly, and Mississippi State bullies their way to a lopsided victory. Take the over in this game.
Prediction: Over (46.5)