Mississippi State football vs. Alabama preview

After dropping three straight games, Mississippi State football comes off its bye week to travel to the No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide. Mississippi State will have its hands full after scoring only 10 points per game over the last three games while Alabama is averaging 48 points per game for the season.

The Bulldogs have struggled mightily against Alabama with their last win over the Crimson Tide happening back in 2007, Nick Saban’s first year at Alabama. They haven’t won at Bryant-Denny Stadium since 2006.

According to ESPN, Alabama comes into the game with a 96.5% probability to win with a -31.5 spread. The game will be televised on Halloween night on ESPN at 7 p.m. ET.


This is the definition of a David versus Goliath matchup. Mississippi State is tied for last in its division with Ole Miss. Meanwhile Alabama is the second-ranked team in the country and is led by Heisman Trophy candidate Mac Jones.

Jones has played much better than anyone predicted coming into the season throwing for 1,905 yards, 12 touchdowns and two interceptions through five games. Jones, however, will be without his top wideout Jaylen Waddle. According to Saban, Waddle will miss the rest of the season after “very very very successful” surgery on his broken ankle and is expected to make a full recovery.

On the flip side, the Bulldogs are still searching for their signal caller. Mississippi State head coach Mike Leach said the quarterback competition between K.J. Costello and true freshman Will Rogers will continue and that he wants one of them to separate themselves. As of now, the starting quarterback is listed as Costello or Rogers on the depth chart.

“I think they are neck and neck and we’ll continue to split the reps this week for the first couple of practices,” Leach said in his Monday press conference. “You tried to get that thing settled in. In the years with my experience, we’ve been able to do it most of the time. Right now, we’ve got two guys that are fairly comparable and I think they’ve got to battle it out. We’ll see.”

Mississippi State All-American running back Kylin Hill will miss his second straight game according to Leach. There have been conflicting reports on Tuesday with some saying Hill was planning to opt out of the rest of the 2020 season to prepare for the NFL Draft, but other reports and a now since-deleted tweet by Hill himself say otherwise.

“No update,” Leach said on Hill. “He’s still unavailable.”

The good news for the Bulldogs is the battle in the trenches may not be so one sided as it so often is against Alabama. While Mississippi State has given up the second most sacks in the conference with 14, the Crimson Tide’s not-so-fearsome defense has only accumulated seven sacks, tied for second worst in the conference. The Tide defense is also allowing over 400 total yards per game.


Alabama’s defense has underperformed this season but is due for a big-time performance soon. That big-time performance will come against Leach’s struggling air raid offense

No matter which quarterback makes the start for Mississippi State, arguably the conference’s worst offensive line is going to offer no help or relief whatsoever. Talented Alabama cornerbacks like Patrick Surtain will make the passing windows very small against Mississippi State receivers who have not shown the ability to beat zone coverage consistently.

If Alabama employs the rush three, drop eight approach like the last three teams have and there’s no significant adjustment from the coaching staff, it will be a horror-filled night for Mississippi State football fans this Halloween. Some might even call it a blood bath when it’s all said and done.

Mississippi State’s defense has been the surprise of the season being one of the stronger units in the entire conference. The only reason Mississippi State might have a chance in this one will be because of its defense if it can continue to perform as it has.

In the end, Alabama is going to quickly run up the points on Mississippi State football so its fans can get to trick-or-treating earlier. It would not be shocking to see both Costello and Rogers get snaps for the Bulldogs

FINAL SCORE: Alabama 38, Mississippi State 14

Photo courtesy of MSU Athletic Communications