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Opponent preview: Georgia’s defense

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Georgia’s stout defense has struggled in the secondary.

NCAA Football: Tennessee at Georgia Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

STARKVILLE, Miss. — The Mississippi State football team returns to action Saturday as it travels to Athens, Georgia, to face the No. 13 Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. CT.

State will be facing a stout Georgia defense this week, though it is a banged-up stout defense. And although the defense has been praised so far in the season, the passing defense has struggled at times. In its two losses on the season, Georgia gave up 417 yards passing to Alabama and 474 to Florida.

The Georgia Bulldogs rank second in the Southeastern Conference in total defense, first in rushing defense, 10th in passing defense and first in scoring defense.

Through six games, Georgia has given up an average of 20.8 points per game and 345.7 yards of total offense, which includes 82.8 yards rushing per game and 262.8 yards passing. Nationally, Georgia ranks 22nd in scoring defense, 28th in total defense, fourth in rushing defense and 99th in passing defense.

Sophomore linebacker Nakobe Dean leads Georgia with 49 tackles. Senior linebacker Monty Rice and sophomore defensive back Lewis Cine follow with 35 and 31 tackles, respectively. Senior defensive back Richard LeCounte and junior linebacker Quay Walker have recorded 26 tackles and 25 tackles.

LeCounte is out with head and rib injuries suffered in an automobile accident on Oct. 31, while Rice and Walker have been playing through injuries for a couple of weeks now. Cine has been dealing with a concussion, but he is expected to be available for Saturday’s game.

The game will be airing on SEC Network.