Game Preview: Florida at Mississippi State
It’s finally here. The game Mississippi State fans have had circled on their calendar since Dan Mullen left for Florida. There will be a lot of emotion inside Davis-Wade Stadium and tensions will be high as Mullen makes his return to Starkville. The Gators come in after winning their match-up last week at Tennessee, 47-21, while the Bulldogs come in after being upset on the road at Kentucky 28-7. Both teams enter the contest at 3-1, with both of the team’s losses coming against Kentucky. The big question heading into this game will be, how does Mississippi State control their emotions? Last week, the Bulldogs struggled keeping their emotions bottled up, and allowed the Kentucky players to get in their head which caused a handful of unsportsmanlike penalties. Coach Joe Moorhead said earlier in the week the players held a player’s only meeting, before Coach Moorhead held a team meeting, addressing the penalties.
When: September 29th, 5pm
How to Watch: ESPN/WatchESPN
Match-up to Watch For: This game will be decided by who can stop the run and who can’t. Last week, surprisingly, Mississippi State struggled to stop the run and struggled to get their running game going. Florida’s offense hinges on the run, just like Mississippi State’s does, which shouldn’t be a shocker. There will be a lot of familiarity on both sides for both teams, so the big question is who wins the line of scrimmage and can control it for majority of the game?
Florida Player(s) to Watch: There’s not just one player to watch on Florida’s offense. As previous stated, their offense hinges on the run and they use different running backs to run the football. Their leading rusher is Dameon Pierce, while their second leading rusher is Jordan Scarlett, while Lamical Perine is the team’s third leading rusher. None of the running backs average over 70 yards per game, which means they put the ball in the hands of different players and expect them to make plays.
Mississippi State Player(s) to Watch: The Bulldogs’ defensive line will be looking to regain their dominance after being silenced in Lexington a week ago. Jeffery Simmons, Montez Sweat, and Braxton Hoyett will need to be back to their normal selves for the Bulldogs to accomplish what they want to accomplish this week. After giving up 229 yards rushing a week ago, this group will have to be better or the result will be much of the same against this Florida team.
Final Prediction/Analysis: It will be a rocking day in Starkville, with SEC Nation being broadcast live from The Junction and with the return of Dan Mullen. While Mullen is used to the cowbells, he isn’t used to being on the receiving end of those cowbells. Davis-Wade Stadium will be rocking throughout the entire game, and this Mississippi State team will feed off the energy of the fans. After a player’s only meeting ahead of this game, expect the penalties to be down and this Bulldogs team to be focused on the task at hand. Mississippi State wins this one 27-21.