Mississippi State football is on the road this week as the Bulldogs travel to Auburn, Alabama to face No. 7 Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium after enjoying three consecutive games on its home turf.
Mississippi State is 3-1 and 1-0 in Southeastern Conference play after topping Kentucky 28-13 last weekend at Davis Wade Stadium. The Tigers are 4-0 and coming off a 28-20 win in their SEC opener against No. 23 Texas A&M.
MSU QB Garrett Shrader was named SEC Freshman of the Week after completing 17-of-22 passes for 180 yards and rushing 11 times for 125 yards. Junior running back Kylin Hill continues to dominate as he ranks No. 3 in the nation in yards rushing with 551.
Auburn is one of the best in the nation at limiting teams in rushing yards, allowing just 89.5 rushing yards per contest, so Hill versus that run defense is a key matchup to watch. And as well as Mississippi State is at rushing the ball, Auburn is every bit as good. The Tigers average 259.5 yards rushing per game and are led by sophomore running back JaTarvious Whitlow, who is averaging 102 yards rushing per game.
Auburn also has a true freshman quarterback at the helm in five-star prospect Bo Nix. Nix has not had a breakout game yet, completing 56-of-104 passes for 645 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions.
This will be Mississippi State’s first game against a ranked opponent this season.
Let’s get into the predictions.
Collin Wilmes: This should be an exciting game with two of the best rushing teams in the country going head-to-head. In my opinion, both teams’ weakness is pass defense, so it might come down to which freshman quarterback has a better day. I give Auburn the edge with a more balanced rushing attack and a more impressive day from Nix. Final score: Auburn wins 38-24.
Gil Maneclang: Mississippi State loads the box forcing the Tigers to throw. Bo Nix accepts the challenge and finds some open receivers. This opens the running game and Auburn rushes all over the Bulldogs. Hill does his best, but the Auburn defense is too much as the Bulldogs fall to the Tigers on the road. Final score: Auburn wins 35-17.
William Mitchell: Will Kylin Hill keep the streak going in Week 5? Yep. Auburn had issues last year covering both Hill and Fitzgerald in the run game and showed the same issues this season against Kent St. The only difference between Mississippi State and Kent State is pretty much everything. We are faster, stronger and just flat out better at running the ball with both positions. Final score: Mississippi State wins 24-21.
Landon Young: This is the first week I’m picking against the Dawgs. I don’t know that Mississippi State’s defense can stop Auburn’s rushing attack, but if State can hold Auburn to under 100 yards on the ground then I think MSU wins, but I don’t see it happening. I’ll be there hoping I’m wrong. Final score: Auburn wins 31-21.
Andrew Robert: Though Kylin Hill will put on a show, it will not be enough against Auburn’s stout defensive line. Final score: Auburn wins 24-20.
You can watch the game on ESPN at 6 p.m. CT.