After earning a hard fought victory on the road in Death Valley last weekend, the No. 1 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide returns home Saturday to welcome the Mississippi State Bulldogs into Bryant Denny Stadium.
The Tide (9-0) and the Bulldogs (4-5) will battle it out on the gridiron for the 100th time, with Alabama leading the all-time series 78-18-3.
After losing to South Alabama in the season opener, no one in their right mind would have given Mississippi State any shot to head into Tuscaloosa and take down the Crimson Tide. But the Bulldogs are heading into this game confident after defeating then-No. 4 ranked Texas A&M last week 35-28. Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald is coming off a career day, one where he threw for 209 yards and ran for 182 more and found the end zone four times as he led the way in the Bulldogs’ upset win over the Aggies. Head coach Dan Mullen hopes Fitzgerald and the Bulldog offense, which ranks sixth in the SEC averaging over 445 yards a game, will keep the hot hand as they face the nation’s most feared defense.
Alabama’s Jalen Hurts started out slow last week at LSU, but like he has all year, he kept his poise and made big plays down the stretch to keep the Tide’s hopes of an undefeated season still alive. At home, Hurts has thrown for just under 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns and has a passer rating of 145. The freshman signal caller has taken the league by storm, but hasn’t quite overshadowed the defense, which continues to dominate opposing offenses. The Alabama defense leads the country with 37 sacks and has given up the least amount of rushing yards out of all teams in the country.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban has a 8-1 record against Mississippi State during his tenure in Tuscaloosa, and is 13-1 in his career against the Bulldogs. Dan Mullen is still looking for his first victory against Alabama since becoming Mississippi State head coach in 2009.
The Crimson Tide and Bulldogs will kick-off at 12 p.m. EST on ESPN. Joe Tessitore and Todd Blackledge will have the call.