The most pivotal game in the SEC this week features a pair of undefeated and top 5 teams with the 2nd ranked Auburn Tigers (5-0) traveling to Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field in Starkville, MS to take on the 3rd ranked Mississippi St. Bulldogs (5-0) in their 88th meeting on Saturday afternoon (3:30pm ET). Auburn steamrolled LSY at home last week 41-7 and also has notched notable wins over Arkansas (45-21) in week 1 and at Kansas St. (20-14) in week 4. Mississippi St. had a big 48-31 win at home over then 6th ranked Texas A&M last week, and opened their SEC schedule with a 34-29 win at LSU in week 4.
The Tigers rank 15th among FBS teams in scoring offense with 42 points per game and 23rd in total offense with 497.2 yards per game. The Tigers, as they did on their way to the national championship game last year, have excelled at running the football this season with 268 YPG on the ground to rank 14th nationally in rushing offense. Quarterback Nick Marshall (755 passing yards, 8 TDs, 1 INT) has shown improvement as a passer this season, and the Tigers average 229.2 YPG (71st nationally) through the air. Auburn ranks 9th nationally in scoring defense with 14.4 PPG allowed and 14th in total defense with 306.6 YPG allowed.
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Mississippi St. ranks 13th nationally in scoring offense with 42.6 PPG scored and 12th in total offense with 541.8 YPG. Mississippi St. has been even better than Auburn on the ground this season, ranking 13th nationally with 274.4 rushing YPG. Quarterback Dak Prescott is a dynamic dual-threat, and has thrown for 1,232 yards and 13 TDs with 2 INTs while running for 455 yards and 6 additional scores. Mississippi St. ranks 22nd nationally in points allowed with 19.4 per game and 84th in total defense with 426.4 YPG allowed. The Achilles heel for the Bulldogs has been their secondary, MSU ranks 123rd nationally in passing yards allowed with 328.2 per game.
Auburn vs. Mississippi St. Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Auburn Tigers -2.5
@Mississippi St. Bulldogs +2.5
Over 63.5 (-110)
Under 63.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from BetOnline.ag
Auburn vs. Mississippi St. Pick:
Auburn can attack Mississippi St. through the air with wide receivers Sammie Coates, CJ Uzomah and D’haquille Williams, and they should have success given that MSU’s secondary has struggled this season and Marshall threw for a career high 339 yards against them in a 24-20 Tiger win last season. The Tigers look to be hitting on all cylinders heading into this game after putting up 566 yards of total offense on LSU last week. Marshall threw for 207 yards and ran for 119, and he should be able to have more success through the air than on the ground against MSU this week with the front 7 of the Bulldogs ranking as one of the best in the country.
The Bulldogs have had a strong home field advantage so far this season, but Auburn has proven that they can go into a tough environment on the road and win as they did against Kansas St. Both teams have been strong against the run, with MSU allowing 98.2 YPG (11th nationally) and Auburn 100.2 (13th), therefore this game should come down to the MSU secondary against the passing game of Auburn. With Auburn possessing a vast amount of big game experience and MSU’s pass defense proving to be the one glaring weakness on either team, the call here has to be Auburn. Take the Tigers and give the points here.