No. 1 Alabama is coming off a statement win last week in which it throttled LSU 29-0 to claim the SEC West title as the month of November began. The work for Nick Saban and the surging Crimson Tide is far from over, though, as Saturday they’ll face what some believe could be a somewhat formidable foe in the form of No. 16 Mississippi State.
Mississippi State: Very quietly, Bulldogs quarterback Nick Fitzgerald has looked like a different player over the last two weeks. He has tossed six touchdowns, zero picks and topped the 240-yard mark in wins over Texas A&M and Louisiana Tech. That balance has helped the offense average more than 7 yards per play in both contests. The last such offensive performance came in Week 3 against Louisiana-Lafayette. Defense has never been an issue for Joe Moorhead’s squad. The Bulldogs lead the conference in total defense (278.7 YPP) and defensive yards per play (4.3), and the Bulldogs are tied for third in the SEC with 23 sacks. Edge threat Montez Sweat is second in the SEC in sacks with 9.5.
Alabama: Crimson Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa finally threw an interception last week … and that’s about the only negative thing you can say about the state of Alabama football. The offensive line has emerged as one of the best in the country, there are wide receivers for days, running backs Damien Harris and Najee Harris comprise one of the best tandems in the country and Tagovailoa is the unquestioned Heisman Trophy front-runner. Defensive lineman Quinnen Williams has played himself into superstardom this year, which was punctuated by his performance last week vs. LSU when he notched 3.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. With Isaiah Buggs and Raekwon Davis alongside, this Crimson Tide front seven is as dangerous as any under coach Nick Saban.
Game prediction, picks
After a one-week hiatus, at least in theory, we are back to playing college football‘s most popular game: “Will Alabama Cover?” This week, the answer is “yes.” It’s one thing for Fitzgerald to look like a complete quarterback against Texas A&M and Louisiana Tech’s defenses, but it’s a completely different thing to do it against the Crimson Tide. Williams, Buggs, Davis and the rest of the defensive line will slow down the run with just four, the defense will dominate in the passing game and Tagovailoa will have another Heisman-worthy game in a big home win. Pick: Alabama -24.5
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