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Opponent preview: Alabama’s offense

A battle of strengths will take place Halloween evening.

NCAA Football: Alabama at Mississippi State Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

STARKVILLE, Miss. — Mississippi State’s conference-leading defense will be matched up against No. 2 Alabama’s conference-leading offense Saturday evening inside Bryant-Denny Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. CT and will be televised by ESPN.

The Mississippi State defense allows 295.5 yards per game, which ranks No. 1 in the Southeastern Conference and No. 15 in the nation. The Bulldogs allow an average of 192.3 yards passing per game, which ranks No. 1 in the SEC, and 103.3 yards rushing per game, which ranks No. 3 in the SEC.

The Alabama offense has produced 566.4 yards per game, which ranks No. 1 in the SEC and No. 3 in the nation.

Alabama’s high-powered offense has passed for 397.8 yards per game and has rushed for 168.6 yards per game.

Redshirt junior quarterback Mac Jones has passed for 1,905 yards with 12 touchdowns and two interceptions. He earned SEC Offensive Player of the Week honors for his 387-yard passing performance in last week’s 48-17 win over Tennessee. The week before that, he completed 24 of 32 passes for 417 yards and four touchdowns in a 41-24 win over the then-No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs.

Junior wide receiver Jaylen Waddle leads the team with 557 yards receiving and four touchdowns on 25 receptions, but his season is now over after suffering a fractured ankle on the opening kickoff against the Volunteers. The fracture will require surgery.

Filling the hole left by Waddle will be redshirt sophomore wide receiver Slade Bolden, who caught six passes for 94 yards last week.

Senior wide receiver DeVonta Smith, who earned second-team All-American honors last season, has hauled in 45 receptions for 556 yards receiving and four touchdowns. No. 3 on the team in receiving is sophomore wide receiver John Metchie III, who has posted 21 catches for 499 yards, which is good for a staggering 23.8 yards per catch. Three of his catches have resulted in scores.

Senior running back Najee Harris is the “bell cow” of the Crimson Tide rushing attack. Harris has carried the rock 103 times for 595 yards and 14 touchdowns.