Mississippi State vs. Auburn prediction and preview: Gus Malzahn and the Tigers look for a valuable SEC West win in Starkville.
On Saturday, October 8 at 12 p.m. E.T., the Mississippi State Bulldogs (2-2, 1-1) host the Auburn Tigers (3-2, 1-1) at Davis Wade Stadium, which has a listed capacity of 55,082. The game will be broadcast on SEC Network. Read on for our Mississippi State vs. Auburn prediction and preview.
According to ESPN's matchup predictor, which is based on the network's Football Power Index, Auburn has a 66.7-percent chance to defeat the Bulldogs. Mississippi State won last year's matchup 17-9. Auburn holds a significant edge in the series; the Tigers are 58-28-3 all-time against the Bulldogs, but Dan Mullen's team has won the last two meetings in this one. According to OddsShark, Mississippi State opened as a 1.5-point favorite in this one, but the line has flipped, and Auburn is now a 2.5 or three-point favorite at most sportsbooks.
Spread: Auburn Tigers -2.5
Game Time: 12:00 p.m. E.T.
Channel: SEC Network
Mississippi State vs. Auburn preview:
The SEC West has already claimed one notable head coach, in Les Miles. Could Gus Malzahn be next? If Auburn drops this game at Mississippi State for a third straight season, it certainly won't help his cause.
Malzahn is known as an offensive mastermind, and lived up to that billing as offensive coordinator in 2010 and head coach in 2013. Since losing defensive back-turned-quarterback Nick Marshall, however, the Tigers have not been able to find a playmaker behind center. Jeremy Johnson entered 2015 with Heisman sleeper buzz and fell on his face, and this year the position has been a revolving door between Johnson, Sean White, and John Franklin III. White, who made his debut as Auburn's starter in last year's loss to the Bulldogs, will likely play most of the snaps on Saturday, but he hasn't inspired a ton of confidence in the Auburn faithful.
Mississippi State also had a quarterback battle involving a number of players, but Nick Fitzgerald appears to have the position locked up for now. He threw for 305 yards and three touchdowns against UMass in MSU's last game, before last week's bye, and leads the team with 603 passing yards and five touchdowns. He has played in all four of the Bulldogs' games, but only threw three passes in the season opening loss to South Alabama.
Mississippi State vs. Auburn prediction:
Mississippi State has looked better since dropping the season opener to South Alabama, with wins over South Carolina and UMass and a narrow loss to LSU. Auburn beat that LSU team, and blew out ULM and Arkansas State, but has struggled against top competition.
Auburn has the best unit in this game. The Tigers' defense is extremely talented, and has not surrendered more than 29 points this season, and that was to a very game Texas A&M offense. We like Auburn to take home a defense-led win on the road.
Auburn 21, Mississippi State 13