Alabama vs. Mississippi State will be the 107th meeting in the SEC West series, as Alabama has played Mississippi State more than any other opponent. Alabama has a 14-game winning streak in the series, and won last year 49-9.

Alabama coach Nick Saban is 19-1 in his career against MSU, including a 14-1 mark at Alabama. Mississippi State coach Mike Leach is 0-3 against the Tide spanning his time at Texas Tech and in Starkville.

State is dealing with the passing of offensive lineman Sam Westmoreland, 18, who died on Wednesday. Leach’s media availabilities were called off following the announcement.

Alabama vs. Mississippi State preview

Once kickoff commences, the question will be how Alabama responds from the shocking loss last week to Tennessee. The result wasn’t as much of a surprise as the flurry of mistakes from the Crimson Tide, which infuriated Saban. Among they were a school-record 17 penalties, which started on the opening kick, a missed field goal, a muffed punt return and 6 delay of game or false start penalties. For an otherwise disciplined program, Alabama has raised alarm bells because Alabama’s 66 penalties are the most among the 131 FBS teams, and the Crimson Tide are 129th in penalties per game (9.43) and penalty yards per game (79.9).

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The troubling pattern for Alabama is that these issues have been around the entire season. There were 15 penalties against Texas, and against Texas A&M, there were 4 turnovers. Against Arkansas, there were 10 penalties. National perception has cratered, which is evident in the eye-popping stat that the Crimson Tide had the string of 40 straight appearances in the top 5 snapped. It was the longest such active streak in the country.

The Bulldogs would like to get another solid game out of CB Emmanuel Forbes, who has 4 interceptions in his last 3 games, including 2 returned for touchdowns. He tied the SEC career record with his fifth pick-6 last week at No. 22 Kentucky. Bryce Young is likely aware that the Bulldogs’ secondary leads the SEC with 5 interceptions and 11 total passes defended. Forbes can take credit for plenty of that as he leads the SEC with 5 interceptions and 11 total passes defended.

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Will Rogers continues to impress, and another big game would elevate him to another career passing mark. Rogers has tied Dak Prescott’s MSU career record with 70 passing touchdowns, and he needs 337 yards to match Prescott’s career passing yards record (9,376).

One notable difference for the Bulldogs is they are running the ball at the highest clip (93.0 ypg) of a Leach-coached team since the 2016 Washington State team (120.0 ypg). State already has 19 runs of 10-plus yards through seven games after posting just 23 in 13 games last year and 20 in 11 games in 2020.

Prediction: Alabama 42, Mississippi State 21