The Alabama Crimson Tide continue to prove why they are the best team in the country week after week. Last Saturday, they passed one of their toughest tests of the 2013 season with flying colors, defeating then-No.13 LSU 38-17.
This Saturday, they get one of their easiest matchups of the SEC play when they visit Mississippi State. The Bulldogs are unranked with just one win in conference play. However, the Crimson Tide know that they’ll have to come out ready for their next opponent.
"You cannot take things for granted," head coach Nick Saban said on Monday. "There can't be any kind of relief syndrome that, `We got by that game.' I think the most important thing -- and I think this last game sort of showed that -- the team we want to be is the team we were in the second half, an aggressive team that's trying to control the line of scrimmage. Not a team playing with a lot of anxiety that's worried about making mistakes and errors. We made a lot of mental errors in the first half of the game."
For much of their game with LSU, Alabama looked like they could be in line to lose their first game of the season. The two teams were tied late in third quarter, until T.J. Yeldon rand four yards for a touchdown. That was the start of a 21-0 run that the No.1 team in the country would go on to close out the contest.
At 4-5 overall and 1-4 in the SEC, the Bulldogs don’t have much of a chance in this one. The betting line at most Las Vegas casinos has them as 23.5-point underdogs at home. A win for Mississippi State would be the biggest upset of the season. It might considered an accomplishment if they can simply cover the point spread, against which Alabama s 6-3 this year.
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"I think they're averaging winning every game by 31 points so we'll have our hands full," Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said. "It's a unique opportunity and we're going to enjoy that opportunity, and go out there and play with great effort for sixty minutes and see what we can do."
All of Mississippi State’s wins have come against unranked competition. They were blown out by Oklahoma State, LSU and South Carolina. In their last game, though, they were able to remain somewhat competitive with No.15 Texas A&M. They were defeated 51-41 and kept the score within 10 points until the wheels came off in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs forced Johnny Manziel into throwing three interceptions.
Mississippi State could have a very tough time getting the ball in the end zone. They’ve struggled against the better defensive teams on their schedule, and no team in the country is better at stopping their opponent than the Crimson Tide. Against OSU, Auburn and South Carolina, which are all top 30 defenses, the Bulldogs could not score more than 20 points.
The contest is set to get underway at 7:45 p.m. ET at Davis Wade Stadium, where the Bulldogs are 4-1. ESPN will broadcast the game on TV, and can also be viewed on a free live stream online at watchespn.com.