No. 19 Mississippi State launched itself into the national rankings with an impressive rout of LSU last week in its SEC opener, and now it hits the road for a rare matchup against No. 12 Georgia on Saturday looking to continue building itself as a challenger in the SEC West. Everything went right for Mississippi State last week as quarterback Nick Fitzgerald accounted for four touchdowns, but coach Dan Mullen acknowledged to reporters Tuesday this week presents a new challenge.
“It’s our first SEC road game, which adds different challenges to the picture,” Mullen told reporters regarding the first meeting between the schools since 2011. “We’re going to have to come out and improve a great deal off of last week.” The Bulldogs spent last week running over Samford, after posting an impressive 20-19 victory at Notre Dame. Freshman quarterback Jake Fromm has passed for five touchdowns in three games since taking over for the injured Jacob Eason early in the season opener. “We have to get him to make good decisions,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart told reporters Tuesday in reference to Fromm. “As long as he does that, we can play winning football.”
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Georgia -5
ABOUT MISSISSIPPI STATE (3-0, 1-0 SEC): Fitzgerald, the SEC Offensive Player of the Week, finished with 260 yards of total offense against LSU and a pair of touchdowns passing and rushing. The Bulldogs are averaging 47.7 points per game, tops in the conference and ninth nationally, as Aeris Williams has put together back-to-back 100-plus yard rushing efforts. Defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons, the league’s Defensive Lineman of the Week, set career highs in tackles (seven) and sacks (1.5) last week.
ABOUT GEORGIA (3-0, 0-0): Fromm passed for 165 yards and three touchdowns last week after completing 16-of-29 passes and engineering a late scoring drive to knock off Notre Dame. Running backs Nick Chubb (298 yards, four touchdowns) and Sony Michel (162, two) form a powerful backfield duo. Defensively, the Bulldogs have held opponents to 14.3 points and 266 yards of total offense per game.
1. Georgia OLB Lorenzo Carter has recorded three sacks and two forced fumbles while making two fumble recoveries this season.
2. Mississippi State has scored 35 or more points in eight of its last 10 games, dating back to last campaign.
3. Georgia has won 10 of its last 11 meetings with Mississippi State.
PREDICTION: Georgia 38, Mississippi State 34