#11 Mississippi St Bulldogs at #1 Alabama Crimson Tide
Saturday, October 27, 2012, 8:30 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Bryant-Denny Stadium – Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Opening Line: Alabama -23 1/2
Current Line: Alabama -23
Opening Total: 47 1/2
Current Total: 46
Opening Money Line: Alabama -2100 / Mississippi St +1300
Current Money Line: Alabama -1800 / Mississippi St +1150
The #1 Alabama Crimson Tide host the #11 Mississippi St Bulldogs Saturday night in Tuscaloosa in a key SEC West battle. Both teams are among the 11 undefeated teams left in the country. It is the 97th meeting between the border rivals. Alabama leads the series 74-18-3, (40-9-1 in Tuscaloosa) and has won 4 straight in the series by a combined 117-27, and 9 of the last 11. The Crimson Tide won last year in Starkville 24-7.
Mississippi St is 7-0 overall and 3-0 in the SEC under coach Dan Mullen. It is the best start for the Bulldogs since they were 8-0 in 1999. Mississippi St has home wins over Jackson St 56-9, Auburn 28-10, South Alabama 30-10, Tennessee 41-31, and last week against Middle Tennessee St 45-3. The Bulldogs have road wins at Troy 30-24 and Kentucky 27-14. MSU is 5-2 ATS and the total is 1-5 this season. The Bulldogs were 19 point favorites against MTSU last week and the total was 58.
Mississippi St is averaging 417 yards per game on offense including 235.9 passing and 181.1 rushing yards. The Bulldogs are outscoring teams 37-14 this season. MSU is +17 in turnovers with just 4 turnovers. The Bulldogs have allowed 6 sacks this season. MSU is 49/105 on third and fourth conversions and 26/30 scoring in the red zone with 20 touchdowns. On defense, the Bulldogs are allowing 327.7 yards per game, including 188.6 passing and 139.1 rushing yards. The Bulldogs are #20 nationally against the pass and #9 in scoring defense. MSU has forced 17 turnovers and 11 sacks this season. Bulldog opponents are 40/105 on third and fourth down conversions, and 13/17 scoring in the red zone with 8 touchdowns.
Mississippi St quarterback Tyler Russell has completed 122 of 203 passes (60.1%) for 1,573 yards with 15 touchdowns and an interception, along with a rushing touchdowns. Back-up quarterback Dak Prescott has a touchdown pass in 12 throws, along with 3 rushing touchdowns. Running back LaDarius Perkins has 125 carries, 724 yards and 8 touchdowns, along with 10 catches for 91 yards. Derrick Milton and Josh Robinson will also get some carries, along with the quarterbacks. Receiver Chad Bumphis has 29 catches, 479 yards and 6 touchdowns. Chris Smith has 26 catches, 293 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Arceto Clark has 15 catches for 216 yards. Marcus Green has 14 catches, 166 yards and 5 touchdowns. All-American defensive back Johnthan Banks is probable with a knee injury as is offensive lineman Tobias Smith.
Alabama is 7-0 and 4-0 in the SEC under coach Nick Saban. The Crimson Tide have wins over Michigan 41-14 in Arlington, TX, home wins over Western Kentucky 35-0, Florida Atlantic 40-7, and Ole Miss 33-14. Alabama has road wins at Arkansas 52-0, Missouri 42-10, and last week at Tennessee 44-13. The Crimson Tide are 4-3 ATS and the total is also 4-3 this season. Alabama was a 19.5 point favorite and the total was 54.
Alabama is averaging 439.6 yards per game on offense including 220.1 passing yards and 219.4 rushing yards. Alabama is outscoring opponents 41-8 this season. No Alabama opponent has scored more than 14 points in any game, and the Tide has 2 shutouts in 7 games. Alabama has forced 20 turnovers with 6 of their own. The Crimson Tide has 19 sacks and has allowed 15 this season. Alabama is 43/90 on third and fourth down conversions and 30/31 scoring in the red zone with 23 touchdowns. Alabama is allowing 195.6 total yards per game, including 136.9 passing yards and 58.7 rushing yards per game. Alabama is #1 in total and scoring defense nationally, #2 against the pass, #1 versus the run, and #1 in scoring defense. Crimson Tide opponents are 29/107 on third and fourth down conversions, and 7/12 scoring in the red zone with 5 touchdowns.
Quarterback A.J. McCarron has completed 106/154 passes (68.8%) for 1,476 yards with 16 touchdowns and no interceptions. He has been sacked 14 times this season. Running back Eddie Lacy has 99 carries, 570 yards, and 7 touchdowns, along with 9 catches for 60 yards. T.J. Yeldon has 83 carries, 565 yards and 6 touchdowns, along with 7 catches for 94 yards. Kenyan Drake has 21 carries for 159 yards, but 4 of them went for touchdowns. Receiver Amari Cooper has 28 catches, 245 yards and 5 touchdowns. Kenny Bell has 11 catches, 252 yards and 2 touchdowns. Kevin Norwood has 14 catches, 247 yards and 2 touchdowns. Christion Jones has 12 catches, 172 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also returns kicks and punts for the Tide and has a 99 yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Five Alabama players are out for the season, including 2 running backs and 2 wide receivers.
Mississippi St is 5-0 ATS in October, 4-0 in SEC games, 6-1 after scoring more than 40 points, 5-1 against teams with winning records, 10-2 on grass, 8-2 after allowing 20 points or less, 10-4 overall, 5-2 after a straight up win of 20 points or more, 7-3 after a straight up win, and 2-5 in road games. The last 5 games have gone under the total in this series, and the under is also 5-2 in Tuscaloosa recently in the series.
Alabama is 7-0 ATS in October, 5-1 in SEC games, 7-2 after scoring 40 points or more, 12-4 after a straight up win of 20 points or more, 12-5 after allowing less than 100 rushing yards, 2-6 on grass, and 1-5 at home. The home team is 4-1 ATS in this series recently.
Mississippi St has scored at least 27 points in every game this season, but they haven’t played one team ranked in the top 25. That will change when they face the nation’s best defense, in Alabama. Amazingly, only one team in the last 21 games has gained more than 300 yards against the Crimson Tide. That was Georgia Southern last year. I don’t see an average Mississippi St offense breaking through the stout Bama defense. The Bulldog defense might let them hang around for a while, but Alabama wins by double digits.
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