STARKVILLE, MS (WLOX) -
Mississippi State has won 12 straight games, 8 and 0 this season, 5 and 0 in SEC play. The Bulldogs have dropped six straight games to the Tide.
Alabama has reeled off 8 wins in 9 games, 5 and 1 in the SEC, losing to Ole Miss. Coach Nick Saban's team pulled out a 20-13 overtime win at LSU where the Tigers had been 46 and 3 in night games under coach Les Miles. Number 1 Mississippi State and Number 4 Alabama, a marquee match up that will have the nation watching. Bulldogs head coach Dan Mullen says Alabama is loaded with talent, talent that sometimes doesn't even hit the playing field.
"They probably have more five-star players sitting on the bench that can't get a rep then we have on our entire roster, "stated Mullen. "Tough place to go play at Alabama. Our guys are going to have to come out and play well and execute at a very very high level."
For the fifth straight week Mississippi State is No. 1 in the polls. The Bulldogs jumped into the No. 1 spot on October 12 for the first time in the 115-year history of the university becoming the first team in the Associated Press poll's 78-year history to go from unranked to No. 1 in five weeks.
The Bulldogs have averaged 522.1 yards of total offense per game. That's number one in the SEC and number six in the nation. Junior quarterback Dak Prescott has a career completion percentage of .598 to establish a school record.
Alabama has a great defense again and they are very good in stopping the run. Mississippi State running back Josh "Bowling Ball" Robinson will try to crack the Tide defense. The junior from Louisiana is a candidate for the Doak Walker Award, second in the SEC and ranks 16th nationally in rushing per game with 109.3 yards. He has cracked the end zone with 11 rushing TD's. Robinson picked up the nickname "Bowling Bowl" for his 5-foot-9, 215 pound stature and running style, netting 6.8 yards per carry. That's tops in the SEC.
Mullen says the Bulldogs offensive line must come through in helping Mississippi State running backs and quarterback Dak Prescott to find open running lanes.
“You have to block them, "stated Mullen. "They are big and physical up front. If we are going to have success we have to block their guys. We have to capitalize when we have opportunities. In a game like this, every play is not going to be a huge play. We have to capitalize when we get an opportunity.”
Mullen says Alabama head coach Nick Saban has been a solid reputation over the years and has built Alabama into a consistent winner.
“Nick Saban has the model program in the country right now. They seem to be a team that is always in the championship discussion every single year. He has done a great job. Hopefully, we are building our program to be a consistent winner like they are.”
If there's one are that the Alabama defense has had some trouble with, it's a dual-threat quarterback. Mississippi State's Dak Prescott can run and throw the football and his play will determine how much success the Bulldogs will have against that defense.
Mullen said, “I think his experience helps going into a hostile environment. That is always tough as a quarterback. I think he has been in that situation before. A couple of years ago he got in the game in Tuscaloosa. Now he has played in big games. He is going to walk on the field with confidence knowing that the situation is not going to be too big for him.”
Coach Mullen says his team will be ready physically and mentally playing before a hostile crowd in Tuscaloosa on national television. Alabama is a 6 1/2 point favorite over the Bulldogs