Published November 9, 2010 - 6:00am
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The Mississippi State Bulldogs (7-2, 3-2) travel to Tuscaloosa to take on the Alabama Crimson Tide (7-2, 4-2). MSU is coming off of a bye week and a tragic week with Nick Bell tragically passing away, while Alabama is coming off a loss to LSU in Baton Rouge. Both teams are hungry for a victory and both want to get back on the field. Here are five things you need to know about Mississippi State vs Alabama:
1. Dan Mullen is a patient head coach. He knows what his team is good at, and he game plans around that. Some coaches are not patient enough or would not be patient enough to win with his team in Starkville. However, Mullen takes what the defense gives him, and he knows what his team does well offensively – run the football with multiple players. It is nothing flashy, but they line up and run right at you. Mullen looks to be a great one moving forward in the future.
2. Alabama has a low-scoring defense. The Tide are only giving up a little over 13 points per game. Mississippi State averages 28 points per game. The Bulldogs also have the third highest rushing offense in the league and average 218 yards on the ground. Expect Alabama to load the box and make the pass beat them – which is something that MSU does not do very well. Mississippi State will have to control the game on the ground on offense.
3. Both teams are hungry to get back on the field. For Mississippi State, the recent death of Nick Bell – the Bulldogs are anxious to play their hearts out in his honor. I’m sure many of the MSU players have counted their blessings and will make the most of it this game. Alabama, on the other hand, is coming off a loss in Baton Rouge to the LSU Tigers. They are foaming at the mouth to get back on the field to get a W.
4. Mississippi State is 4th overall in the conference in run defense. I expect the Bulldogs will make Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy beat them through the air. Alabama’s weak point this year has been the passing game and the offensive line giving up sacks. Expect the Bulldogs to bring the pressure on McElroy and expose Alabama’s offensive line. Alabama has to establish the run first in their offense, period. Everything goes off of Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson. The Bulldogs have a legit SEC defense.
5. Alabama has a home stretch on their mind. The Tide has played five of its last seven games on the road. Now, it will host its final three regular-season games at Bryant-Denny Stadium in front of the Alabama faithful. Alabama has not lost at home since 2007.