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No. 17 Mississippi State ready for road game against Arkansas

Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.

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

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The No. 17 Mississippi State football team is set to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium on Saturday at 3 p.m. CT on SEC Network.

The Bulldogs (5-3, 3-2 SEC) and Razorbacks (5-3, 1-3 SEC) are both looking to become bowl eligible with a win.

MSU is coming off back-to-back wins over Vanderbilt and then-No. 12 Kentucky, The Bulldogs were rewarded with the 17th spot in the initial College Football Playoff rankings of the 2021 season, which were released Tuesday.

In last week’s win, sophomore quarterback Will Rogers completed 36 of 39 passes for 344 yards and one touchdown. On the year, Rogers has completed 327 of 435 (75.2%) passes for 2,890 yards, 19 TDs and seven interceptions. His 361.3 yards passing per game ranks third in the nation.

In addition to Rogers’ terrific performance, MSU added 94 yards rushing on 35 attempts. Sophomore running back Jo’quavious Marks had 20 carries for 58 yards rushing and one TD, while sophomore Dillon Johnson had 41 yards rushing and two TDs on 11 carries.

MSU’s top weapon in the passing game has been redshirt sophomore wide receiver Makai Polk with 63 catches for 603 yards receiving and six TDs. He had five catches for 51 yards in last week’s win. Sophomore Jaden Walley has made 36 catches for 433 yards and four TDs, 95 of which came last week.

Arkansas began the season 4-0 and was ranked No. 8 in the nation after wins against Texas and Texas A&M. However, the Razorbacks are 1-3 since then. They will look to get back on track following a bye week.

Redshirt sophomore quarterback KJ Jefferson has completed 110 of 178 passes for 1,657 yards, 15 TDs and three interceptions. He has also carried the ball 81 times for 419 yards rushing and five TDs.

Junior receiver Treylon Burks leads Arkansas with 42 receptions for 717 yards receiving and seven scores.

The Razorbacks have the fourth-best rushing offense in the nation and second-best in the SEC, averaging 249 yards rushing per game. Redshirt senior running back Trelon Smith has carried the ball 90 times for 459 yards and four TDs, while freshman running back Raheim Sanders has accounted for 434 yards and one TD on 79 carries.

MSU has the nation’s No. 5 run defense, allowing just 89.4 yards per game. The Bulldogs held Kentucky to just 66 yards on the ground last week.

Saturday’s game will mark the 32nd meeting between the Bulldogs and Razorbacks on the gridiron. Arkansas leads the series 17-13-1, but the Bulldogs have won four out of their last six games against Arkansas.

Tom Hart (play-by-play), Jordan Rodgers (analyst) and Cole Cubelic (reporter) will be on the call.