The No. 24 Mississippi State Bulldogs travel to face the Missouri Tigers on Thursday, November 5 in an SEC showdown. This will be their first meeting as conference opponents. Their last showdown came all the way back in 1984 with the Tigers winning 47-30 in Starkville.
Mississippi State (6-2, 2-2 SEC) is coming off a 42-16 beat down of Kentucky at home on October 24. Do-it-all QB Dak Prescott accounted for 465 total yards and six total touchdowns in the win with three rushing and three passing.
Missouri (4-4, 1-4 SEC) will have its run of two straight SEC East Championships come to an end this season. It has lost three in a row coming in, including a 3-10 road loss at Vanderbilt last time out on October 24.
Kickoff inside Memorial Stadium in Columbia is scheduled for 9:00 EST Thursday night with ESPN providing the television coverage. Taking a look at the odds in Las Vegas, I find Mississippi State listed as an 8-point favorite over Missouri with a total set of 39 points.
The Bulldogs have shown that they are still a tough team to beat this season despite all that they lost in the offseason. They have gone 6-2 up to this point with their only two losses coming to LSU (19-21) at home and Texas A&M (17-30) on the road. They have handled their other six opponents with relative ease, and many of those teams are comparable to this Missouri squad.
These teams have one common opponent in Kentucky. Mississippi State beat Kentucky 42-16 at home behind 586 yards of total offense and a solid defensive effort. Missouri lost at Kentucky 13-21 and was held to just 338 total yards in the defeat. It has been the same story for the Tigers over and over again as their offense has been one of the worst in the entire country. They don’t have the firepower to keep up with the Bulldogs in this one.
The Tigers are 0-3 in their last three games overall because their offense hasn’t been able to get anything going. They were held to 3, 6 and 3 points in losses to Florida, Georgia and Vanderbilt, or a paltry 4.0 points per game.
Missouri is averaging a pathetic 14.9 points, 277.6 yards per game and 4.4 per play against opposing defenses that give up 22.6 points, 357 yards per game and 5.2 per play. The Tigers are 0-3 in their last three games overall because their offense hasn’t been able to get anything going. They were held to 3, 6 and 3 points in losses to Florida, Georgia and Vanderbilt, or a paltry 4.0 points per game.
Mississippi State has held seven of its eight opponents to 21 points or fewer and an average of 17.7 points, and it will be able to stop this awful Missouri offense as well. But the difference is going to be that Dak Prescott and company are going to be able to put a big number up on this Missouri defense. The Bulldogs are averaging 35.1 points per game and 6.8 yards per play. Prescott is putting up Heisman Trophy-worthy numbers, throwing 14 touchdown passes against one interception, while also rushing for 371 yards and seven scores.
Another key is that Missouri has nothing to play for but bowl eligibility at this point. It set some lofty expectations by miraculously winning the SEC East the last two years, but now at 1-4 within the conference, it’s going to be hard for this team to find a reason to be motivated the rest of the way. That’s why I’m going to have a hard time trusting the Tigers, especially with what I’ve seen from them offensively going forward.
Plays against home teams (MISSOURI) – poor offensive team (4.2 to 4.8 YPP) against a team with an average defense (4.8 to 5.6 YPP), after gaining 225 or less total yards/game over their last two games are 24-3 (88.9%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. The Bulldogs are 12-4 ATS in their last 16 conference games. The Tigers are 0-6 ATS in their last six games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game.