TV Schedule: Thursday, November 5, 9:00 pm, ET, ESPN
Stadium: Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field, Columbia, MO
Line: MSST (-8)
Nothing can compare to the excitement of last season for Mississippi State. The Bulldogs shot to a No. 1 ranking in the polls for the first time in the school’s history and were the fastest team to go from unranked to No. 1 in the history of the polls (four weeks).
State finished the season 10-3 but lost to Georgia Tech (34-49) in the Orange Bowl in the second-most shocking upset of an SEC team by one from the ACC (after Florida State over Auburn in the last installment of the BCS).
But when Dak Prescott announced he would be returning to Mississippi State for his senior season, Bulldog fans rejoiced and entered the 2015 season hopeful and optimistic.
However, anticipating some offensive struggles without RB Josh Robinson who declared for the 2015 NFL draft, the Bulldogs did not receive a pre-season ranking. Despite jumping into last place in the polls after a Week 1 win against Southern Miss, a loss to LSU at home in Week 2 (19-21) sent the Bulldogs right back out of the polls.
Almost before it started, the 2015 season looked lost. But the Bulldogs bounced back from the early loss with wins against Northwestern State and Auburn before falling to Texas A&M. Wins against Troy, Louisiana Tech and Kentucky, as well as a top-25 ranking, should give State some confidence heading into this week’s matchup with Missouri, though.
The Tigers seemed to be faring okay without QB Maty Mauk the first week of his four-week suspension against South Carolina. But it quickly fell apart with losses the next three weeks. Mauk was allowed to participate in practices during Mizzou’s bye week, but he was suspended for the rest of the season on Sunday following a verbal confrontation outside of a downtown Columbia bar shortly after midnight last Wednesday.
Hopefully Mauk’s replacement Drew Lock can step up like he did against South Carolina. If not, the more experienced Prescott and the Bulldogs will leave Columbia with a win.
Prediction: Mississippi State 21, Missouri 6