Florida at Mississippi State
Time: 5 PM CT
Spread: MIST -7.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Florida Gators improved to 3-1 with its 47-21 victory over SEC foe Tennessee last week. This week, the Gators travel to face No. 23 Mississippi State as 7.5-point dogs in a game that will air at 5 PM (CT) on ESPN. The over/under is set at 51 points according to college football oddsmakers at bookmaker 5dimes.
Florida really suffered from its week 2 loss to the Kentucky Wildcats, losing its tenuous grip on an AP ranking to fall out of the top-25 teams. A win this week could put Florida back in the rankings, but it will not come easy, especially not with Mississippi State seeking to avenge its own loss to none other than the Wildcats, last week, as well.
In the 47-21 victory over the Volunteers the Gators gained just 186 passing yards and 201 via the rush, but it held Tennessee to 208 and 156, respectively. Florida led 26-3 at the half, and it maintained roughly that margin in a much closer second half of football.
Starting QB Feleipe Franks threw 9 of 18 for 172 yards and three TDs, while Jordan Scarlett led all rushers with 77 yards on 11 touches, including a TD and a 19-yard run. Dameon Pierce added 63 yards on seven carries and a TD, while Franks managed just 11 yards on his nine attempts but did manage to score a rushing TD, as well.
Really, the name of the game was efficiency for Florida, as most of its end zone trips resulted in touchdowns. Despite all of that, the Gators did fumble four times— the saving grace was all four were recovered, while the Vols fumbled four times and recovered just once. Fumbles can be game changers, obviously, and Tennessee QB Jarrett Guarantano threw two interceptions as well. Turnovers were entirely the deciding factor between the two relatively even-matched teams.
Mississippi State lost its first game of the season, as mentioned, to the up and coming Wildcats last week. Prior to that costly loss, the No. 23 ranked Bulldogs had been rolling. It defeated SF Austin, Kansas State and UL-Lafayette by a collective count of 150 to 26. That was enough to maintain its stronghold on some sort of ranking, but victory is imperative this week before it faces the Auburn Tigers next week.
The Bulldogs have been strong as usual with its pas game. Between Nick Fitzgerald and Keytaon Thompson (mostly) the team has amassed 973 yards and an 8.32 yard-per-attempt average. Fitzgerald drew the start in last week’s loss but he completed just 16 of 32 passes and threw an interception while failing to throw a TD. He sat out the opener against SF Austin but clearly appears to be the choice in the now-decided QB battle.
Kylin Hill has rushed for 307 yards and three TDs, but it is Fitzgerald who leads the team in rushing TDs, with five He is also the second leading rusher with 286 yards already on the season. Mississippi State has the offensive talent at the skill positions and a stingy enough defense to fight its way to a strong record and a bowl appearance, but it may look back at its SEC record with chagrin when it considers the costly loss to Kentucky last week.