Auburn vs. Mississippi State prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins the SEC West matchup between the Tigers and Bulldogs.
Auburn vs. Mississippi State Game Preview
When: Saturday, October 8 – 12:00 p.m. ET
Where: Davis Wade Stadium, Starkville, MS
TV Broadcast: ESPN
Auburn seemed to be more proficient on offense on Saturday, putting up 58 points against Louisiana-Monroe in the second game of offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee calling plays instead of head coach Gus Malzahn. That was Louisiana-Monroe though, and a bigger test comes in Starkville against the Bulldogs.
Mississippi State is coming off a bye week that followed a 47-35 win at UMass. The Bulldogs are hoping that quarterback Nick Fitzgerald improves on his decent play to start the season, completing 60% of his passes while throwing for five touchdowns to only one interception.
What To Know About Auburn
Is the offense fixed now that Lashlee is calling plays, or was this past weekend just a good showing against an overmatched defense? When given time, quarterback Sean White is accurate with the ball and young receivers are stepping up. The running game, shouldered by Kerryon Johnson, has to be able to move the ball, though, as White isn’t going to win games for the Tigers by himself.
The defense has been a bright spot in defensive coordinator Kevin Steele’s first season in charge, holding opponents to 16.4 points per game. Defensive lineman Carl Lawson has started to turn the corner, and linebacker Deshaun Davis has brought some much-needed oomph at the second level.
What to Know About Mississippi State
Fitzgerald leads the Bulldogs in rushing, and that is a problem. Brandon Holloway and Ashton Shumpert haven’t been able to provide a spark for the running game, and Mississippi State has just four rushing touchdowns total. If they want to be successful, the Bulldogs must be balanced against an Auburn defense that has the ability to pressure the quarterback mercilessly.
Linebacker Richie Brown leads a Mississippi State defense that has been decent, allowing only 356.3 yards per game. It will try to slow down an Auburn offense that likes a fast tempo and relies on a power running game to set up the pass.
Offense: Auburn. The talent is there, so if the play calling is better like it was against Louisiana-Monroe, the Tigers could become hard to stop.
Defense: Auburn. This unit has built off a nice effort against Clemson in the opener and become solid.
Special Teams: Auburn. I seem to say it every week, but it bears repeating: Daniel Carlson is probably the best kicker in America.
Coaching: Tie. Both have won big with great quarterbacks.
Intangibles: Mississippi State. Those cowbells can really leave your ears ringing for days upon end.
Matchup To Watch
Auburn offensive line vs. Mississippi State defensive line
The Tigers offensive line is still young but seems to be gelling. Auburn will have to look out for the skills of defensive lineman A.J. Jefferson.
Auburn vs. Mississippi State Betting Odds
Spread: Auburn -2.5
Auburn vs. Mississippi State Prediction
Two years ago, these two teams met with Auburn ranked No. 2 and the Bulldogs right behind them at No. 3. Circumstances are a little different now, as both teams have struggled a bit early in the season. If Auburn can get a lead, it will be hard for the Bulldogs to come back against a Tiger defense that has been playing lights out lately. The cowbells will be silenced in Starkville, as Auburn walks out with a key win going into a tough stretch.
Auburn vs. Mississippi State Score Prediction: Auburn 28, Mississippi State 24