Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. Auburn Tigers
Date and Time: Saturday, September 30, 2017, 6 p.m. ET
Location: Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, AL
Opening College Football Odds: Auburn -9.5
Mississippi State vs. Auburn TV Coverage: ESPN
Just like Mississippi State’s National Championship hopes went out the window in Week 4 of the season, Nick Fitzgerald one-week wonder of a Heisman Trophy candidacy was finished, too. Fitzgerald had just 130 total yards of offense and threw two interceptions against UGA in a game that was never anywhere near close.
Now comes the real question: Can the Bulldogs play against any of the big boys in the SEC? Sure, they were able to beat LSU, but is LSU really that good after it was pushed to the brink by a Syracuse team that is probably the eighth or ninth best club in the ACC this year? Hard to tell right now.
That said, Fitzgerald proved on Saturday that he’s a one-man band. The rest of this offense is nowhere near capable of putting up gobs of yards and points against the best teams in the land. It’s hard to say that Fitzgerald has to have over 300 yards of offense and at least three touchdowns in this game to keep MSU in it, but that’s probably going to be a fact of life in most of the Bulldogs’ game this season.
Auburn is an interesting study right now. The team has beaten no one good, including romping Missouri 51-14 last week. Yet its one loss at Clemson, a 14-6 defeat that was always a game within striking distance, doesn’t look bad at all.
Kerryon Johnson had 18 carries for 48 yards and five touchdowns last week in the win over Mizzou, but it’s hard to say he was all that impressive with a long carry of just seven yards. Jarrett Stidham threw for 218 yards and a score, while Kam Martin had nine rushes for 74 yards to lead the way.
We’re just not sure what to make of the Auburn offense at this point. Clearly, Gus Malzahn wants to run the football out of the shotgun more often than not while trying to strike with big plays in his passing game.
But let’s remember that this Mississippi State defense is far from a pushover at this point. For all that Georgia did right last week, it still only scored 31 points.
This MSU club is still one of the top 10 in the land in terms of total defense, and its 14.8 points per game allowed is No. 16 in America.
Mississippi State vs. Auburn Free Picks
We’re not buying what the Bulldogs are selling at this point, and we think we have one more really good week to take advantage of them before they fall off of the radar completely and devolve into a team that isn’t going to be a contender in the SEC West.
Last year when these two teams met in Starkville, Kamryn Pettway ran the ball 39 times for 169 yards and three touchdowns. Pettway has been nowhere to be seen this year for the most part, first due to suspension and most recently due to injury. That said, Auburn has plenty of running backs who can rule the day against this MSU defensive line.
We suspect this is going to be a bit of a defensive struggle, but in the end, the Tigers should ultimately wear down the Dogs and walk out of Jordan Hare with a convincing double-digit victory to beat the soft number put up at all of the top sportsbooks.
College Football ATS Pick: Auburn -9.5 at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Auburn 30, Mississippi State 13