The Mississippi State Bulldogs have been beaten up through a tough three-week stretch in the SEC, but they'll receive some help Saturday when the Arkansas Razorbacks come to town.
Arkansas has suffered through one of the most significant falls from grace this season and sits at 4-6 (2-4 SEC), despite having one of the most NFL-ready quarterbacks in the nation in Tyler Wilson. A coaching change also is imminent in Fayetteville.
The Bulldogs, on the other hand, started out the season 7-0 but since have lost three straight games to the SEC's elite—Alabama, Texas A&M and LSU. With a struggling Razorbacks team coming to town, they expect to get back on the right track and finish the season with 10 wins.
Let's take a look at everything you need to know for this SEC West matchup.
Where: Davis Wade Stadium, Starkville, Miss.
When: Saturday, November 17, 12:21 p.m. ET
Watch: SEC Network, Watch ESPN (Live Stream)
Spread: Mississippi State (-6.5) via Vegas Insider
Although the Bulldogs are struggling as of late, it's not hard to see why when you look at their level of competition.
The Razorbacks, however, have lost uncharacteristic games this season such as Louisiana-Monroe, Rutgers and Ole Miss.
If their execution so far this season is any indication, expect the Bulldogs to notch a home victory over their SEC West rival.
Arkansas Injury Report (via USA Today)
Knile Davis (RB) is questionable with a hamstring injury
Chris Gragg (TE) is doubtful with a knee injury
Terrell Williams (LB) is out indefinitely with a suspension
Brandon Mitchell (QB) is out indefinitely with a suspension
Alonzo Highsmith (LB) is out for the season with a foot injury
Tenarius Wright (DE) is out for the season with a shoulder injury
Kody Walker (RB) is out for the season with a leg injury
Kiero Small (FB) is out for the season with a foot injury
Mississippi State Injury Report (via USA Today)
LaDarius Perkins (RB) is probable with a quadricep injury
Ferlando Bohanna (LB) is questionable with a groin injury
What's at Stake?
Arkansas and Tyler Wilson have their last chance to prove that they're worthy of a bowl appearance, and a road loss to the Bulldogs would eliminate the Razorbacks from bowl contention. It's already unlikely with this matchup and an upcoming game against LSU, but a win Saturday would put them on the right track.
In Mississippi State's case, they still have a chance to finish the season with 10 wins assuming they take care of the rest of their regular season slate and win their bowl game.
The top-half of the SEC is loaded and the Bulldogs will have to win convincingly from here on out to prove that they belong in the upper echelon of the conference.
Mississippi State Player to Watch: Tyler Russell
No player on Mississippi State's roster was more responsible for their early-season surge than junior quarterback Tyler Russell.
The 6'4" 220-pounder from Meridian, Miss. started the season off convincingly with at least two touchdowns in six of their first seven games to go along with just one interception in the contests.
However, Russell has struggled during the Bulldogs' losing streak, having thrown more interceptions (3) than touchdowns (2).
Russell should be able to get things going again against a suspect Arkansas defense, but he must take care of the ball and make sure he outplays Razorbacks gunslinger Wilson in order to assure victory for the home crowd.
Arkansas Player to Watch: Tyler Wilson
Ah, what a battle of the QB's we have in this one.
Wilson came into the season as one of the top quarterbacks in his class, and has done little to prove otherwise this season despite his team's atrocious record. But he can't afford to slip up in this contest as it could be his last opportunity to put up big numbers.
With a matchup with LSU looming, it's unlikely Wilson will have much success after their battle in Starkville.
Additionally, running back Knile Davis may be out again, taking away perhaps the only other playmaker on this offense. He may not have a very strong team around him, but he has to take it into his own hands Saturday.
Prediction: Mississippi State 31, Arkansas 28
I believe the Razorbacks will play better than they have so far this season, but the Bulldogs will prove to be too much for this struggling team.
Wilson will keep his team in the game long enough to make things interesting for the full 60 minutes, but Russell will take care of the ball and barely hold onto their eighth victory of the season.
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