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It has been a bumpy start to the season for the Mississippi St. Bulldogs, having dropped two out of their first five games of the year. The Bulldogs are coming off a disappointing showing on the road against the seventh-ranked Auburn Tigers in a 56-23 drumming.
Things have gone south in a hurry for the Tennessee Volunteers through this point of the season, having dropped four out of their first five contests. The Volunteers have dropped back-to-back contests against ranked opponents from the SEC with the latter being 43-14 loss at home against the Georgia Bulldogs.
This sets up what should be an entertaining matchup with both teams looking to get back on track.
Bulldogs eyeing bounce-back performanceThe Bulldogs have had their struggles along the way to start the 2019 campaign, which has included dropping two out of their last three contests heading into Saturday's matchup. Mississippi State has had some notable issues over the last couple of weeks. It should be noted that they are coming off an extremely tough matchup against Auburn, who is one of the top teams in the nation through this point of the season. This was a game was completely dominated by the Tigers, who had six touchdowns in the game while piling up 578 total offensive yards with 217 rushing yards. The Bulldogs were simply outmatched on the road, which should see them be able to bounce back on the road this week against a struggling opponent in Tennessee. Their offense has been largely predicated on the play of their running game led by junior running back Kylin Hill, who has tallied 596 rushing yards on 108 carries for 5.5 yards per carry along with five touchdowns.
Hill has been as stable as they come in the backfield as he has tallied north of 100 rushing yards four times this year with his lone performance below that mark coming last week against Auburn. It was a game that had to be moved away from running the game given the Bulldogs had to keep up with the Tigers' offense. There should be a heavy dose of Hill in the running game to help set the tone on the road for Mississippi State. Although Tennessee has had some type of success against the run this year, the junior tail back has proven to be one of the most productive players at his position this season. This should be a bounce-back performance for the Bulldogs to get back on track.
Volunteers' porous start continuesIt has been yet another disappointing start to the year for the Volunteers, falling to one of the worst marks in the SEC. They have continued to prove to be one of the bottom-tier teams in the conference with their inability to find any sort of success. Their lone win came against in a 38-0 shutout over the Chattanooga Mocs, but outside of that, it has been a discouraging beginning to the season. They are coming off back-to-back blowout losses to the Florida Gators and Georgia Bulldogs. Each of those games proved to be completely outmatched while their defense continued to look to be a punching bag for opponents. Tennessee is currently ranked 83rd in the country. giving up 28.8 points per game along with being 54th against the pass and 85 against the run. They have been middle of the pack at best defensively this year, which could come into play, primarily being able to stop the Bulldogs' strong rushing attack led by Hill, who has been one of the most productive backs in the nation.
The Volunteers are coming off giving up 238 rushing yards to Georgia last week with 5.8 yards per attempt allowed. This should be a key point in the contest due to Mississippi State depending heavily on their running game to lead the charge. If Tennessee is unable to shut down the running game, it could once again be a long game for them that could have plenty of shades of their shortcomings the week before. It will also need true freshman quarterback Brian Maurer to take strides forward with the offense after coming off his first career start. He has effectively replaced Jarrett Guarantano, who has been lackluster this season. In his first game, Maurer passed for 303 yards while completing 18-of-41 passes with two touchdowns and two interceptions. There will be bumps along the way as he gets more acclimated to the collegiate level, but he has quickly brought forth a more dependable presence in the passing game. If the Volunteers hope to snap their two-game losing streak, they need Maurer to put up a strong outing.
- Tennesse is 1-5 ATS in their last six games following a straight-up loss of more than 20 points.
- Tennessee is 1-5 ATS in their last six games on grass.
- Tennessee is 1-6 ATS in their last six games overall.
- Mississippi State is 4-0 ATS in their last four games following a straight-up loss.
- Mississippi State is 5-0 ATS in their last five games following aj ATS loss.
- Mississippi State is 5-1 ATS in their last six games in October
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Bulldogs should be able to get back on track on the road against the struggling Volunteers. Their offense, led by Hill, should be in store for a strong outing that paces them comfortably to a much-needed win. It should be one of the easier games to choose from on Saturday.
Prediction: Mississippi State -7
Full-Game Total Pick
This will be more of an offensive showing between both sides with each team looking to trend in the right direction. Hill will have his way in the running game by getting back to topping 100 rushing yards. Meanwhile, Maurer has proven to be a dependable factor in the passing game that should build off his first outing. All of this sets the stage for what should be a back-and-forth affair.
Prediction: Over 53