Checking on the temperature in Starkville heading into another marquee showdown, this one with Auburn.


Dak Prescott. You don’t need me to tell you how great Prescott has been for the Bulldogs. After two straight wins over top-10 teams, the rest of the country is taking notice as well. The do-it-all quarterback has risen to the top of everyone’s Heisman list, and he’ll have a chance to make himself the odds-on favorite with another big effort against Auburn. After 5 total touchdowns against Texas A&M, even without his favorite receiver, Prescott showed he’s as big of a primetime player as there is in the country.


Josh Robinson. Probably because of Prescott’s play, no one seems to be taking notice of the Bulldogs running back’s performance. Robinson ranks 18th in the nation in total rushing yards with 592, 14th in yards per game at 118.4, and his 7.49 yards per carry rank him 32nd in the country, although 16 of the players ahead of him have 40 or fewer carries on the year. Playing alongside a quarterback with wheels like Prescott makes the running lanes a little wider, but Robinson has turned those lanes into highways.


The defense vs. a spread offense. For the first time all season, Mississippi State faced a truly potent offense. They were up to the task for the most part, holding the high-flying Aggies offense to 5.7 yards per play. While Auburn’s offense is very different than A&M’s — a run-first outfit not unlike the Bulldogs — knowing that they can slow down a high-volume attack will be a huge confidence boost going into Saturday.


The pass defense. As good as Mississippi State’s front seven is — one of the best in the conference — the defensive backfield is still quite susceptible, and they seem to lapse as the game wears on. LSU nearly pulled off a comeback thanks to some lax prevent defense, and Kenny Hill connected for two fourth quarter touchdowns to make the score somewhat respectable. While Auburn is going to run, run and run some more, they have several big-play receivers capable of hurting even the best secondaries. The Bulldogs’ defensive front is good enough to let those guys sit back and wait for the pass, but they’ll need to be prepared for some shots downfield.