No. 17 Mississippi State (7-3, 3-3 SEC, CFP No. 16) at Arkansas (4-6, 1-5), Saturday, noon ET (CBS) Line: Mississippi State by 11 ½.
No. 17 Mississippi State (7-3, 3-3 SEC, CFP No. 16) at Arkansas (4-6, 1-5), Saturday, noon ET (CBS)
Line: Mississippi State by 11 ½.
Series record: Arkansas leads 16-10-1.
WHAT'S AT STAKE
The Bulldogs feel like they let a golden opportunity slip away last week in a 31-24 loss to No. 1 Alabama. Saturday is an opportunity for Mississippi State to take advantage of a reeling Arkansas team that has only one win this season over a Power Five conference team (Ole Miss) and could be in the final weeks of coach Bret Bielema's tenure.
Nick Fitzgerald vs. Arkansas' defense. Amid the myriad of problems for Arkansas this season, its defense has been among the worst in the first year of defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads' 3-4 look. The Razorbacks are 113th in the country in scoring defense, allowing 35.8 points per game, and they will have one of their toughest tests of the season against Fitzgerald — the Southeastern Conference's fourth all-time leading rusher as a quarterback with 2,369 career yards on the ground.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Mississippi State: DL Montez Sweat. The 6-foot-6, 241-pound junior has emerged as the Bulldogs' top pass-rushing threat this season. After finishing with no quarterback sacks in the first four games, Sweat has a team-high 6 ½ sacks in his last six games — along with nine tackles for losses overall.
Arkansas: QB Austin Allen. The senior returned to start in last week's 33-10 loss to LSU after missing the previous four games with a shoulder injury. Allen will once again start this week with freshman Cole Kelley suspended following his arrest on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, and he'll have to once again overcome an offensive line that is allowing nearly three sacks per game.
FACTS & FIGURES
Fitzgerald has accounted for 69 career touchdowns on either the ground (32) or through the air (37), second only to Dak Prescott (114) in Mississippi State history ... The Razorbacks will play this week following the firing of school athletic director Jeff Long on Wednesday ... Bielema is 29-32 overall, 11-27 in his fifth season at Arkansas.