Alabama-Mississippi State Stats Scope: Who Has The Head-To-Head Edge?

    Alabama-Mississippi State is a big-time SEC matchup, but who has the advantage stats wise in Saturday's game between the Bulldogs and Crimson Tide?

    November 10, 2015

    The Alabama Crimson Tide are riding high after taking down rival LSU this past weekend. The Tigers were beaten 30-16 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. It was Nick Saban’s fifth straight victory against his former team as the Crimson Tide’s head coach. 

    But Alabama (8-1, 5-1 SEC) has two more meetings with Southeastern Conference foes this season, and the next one just so happens to be this upcoming weekend in Starkville, Miss. against the Mississippi State Bulldogs (7-2, 3-2 SEC).

    The Bulldogs aren’t mathematically eliminated from a possible birth in the SEC championship game, but it sure would take a lot to make that happen. On top of beating the Crimson Tide, Mississippi State would need to win out, and LSU would need to lose two of its three remaining conference games.

    To see how these two teams match up in what amounts to be another key SEC West contest, let’s take a look into the stats scope.

    Mississippi State’s Offense vs. Alabama’s Defense

    Mullen’s offense isn’t the most prolific, but its 34.7 points per game is good enough to be ranked No. 35 in the country. Senior quarterback Dak Prescott was a candidate for the Heisman Trophy last year. This season he’s a long shot in spite of his 18 passing touchdowns and 1 interception. Prescott has completed 66.7 percent of his passes for 2,351 yards. His main target has been junior wide receiver Fred Ross, who leads the team with 51 receptions. However it’s been De’Runnya Wilson who has made the biggest plays, catching 8 touchdowns and totaling 613 yards receiving. The three have helped contribute to the 296.3 passing yards per game the Bulldogs are averaging.

    The Alabama secondary isn’t anything to scoff at with an average of only 189.6 yards allowed through the air. The Crimson Tide have allowed more than 200 passing yards in just three of nine games and given up just 11 touchdowns via the passing attack. Eddie Jackson leads the team with 5 interceptions, but Minkah Fitzpatrick has helped out, too, with 2 interceptions of his own.

    The running game for the Bulldogs relies mainly on Prescott. The dual-threat quarterback has rushed for 7 touchdowns and 418 yards this year. Junior running backs Brandon Holloway and Ashton Shumpert have contributed a combined 394 rushing yards but only 1 touchdown. The 147.1 rushing yards per game isn’t a whole lot, but it’s the threat of Prescott’s ability to run that makes Mississippi State dangerous.

    Nick Saban’s recruiting of the defensive line shined against LSU when it held Leonard Fournette to just 31 rushing yards on 19 carries. The Alabama defense has held opponents to an average of 75.8 rushing yards per game and only 5 total rushing touchdowns. Only Ole Miss (341) and Texas A&M (284) have gone for more than 250 yards rushing against the Tide. Defensive linemen Jonathan Allen and A’Shawn Robinson have been two big reasons why, as they’ve combine for 13 tackles for loss. Standout linebacker Reggie Ragland has done his part, too, with 74 total tackles — 5.5 of them have been for a loss.

    Alabama’s Offense vs. Mississippi State’s Defense

    Alabama has a stellar defense, but the offense is pretty good, too, with an average of 33.1 points per game. Quarterback Jacob Coker leads a passing attack that averages 227.9 yards per game. Coker has completed 64.9 percent of his passes for 1,807 yards and 11 touchdowns. True freshman wide receiver Calvin Ridley has been fantastic in offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin’s attack. Ridley leads the team with 52 receptions for 576 yards and 3 touchdowns.

    Mississippi State bends a little more in the secondary than Alabama does, but it still hasn’t broke. The Bulldogs allow 201.7 yards per game through the air, but they’ve only given up 5 passing touchdowns. Mullen’s defense has picked off 10 passes. Senior defensive backs Will Redmond and Taveze Calhoun have contributed 4 of those interceptions. At home, it’s bit of a different story, though. Mississippi State only gives up an average of 177.4 passing yards when playing in Starkville, Miss., and its only given up 2 passing touchdowns in those five games.

    Alabama’s secret weapon is Derrick Henry — not much of a secret now though. Henry torched LSU for 210 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns. Now potentially the frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy, Henry has rushed for 17 touchdowns and 1,254 yards. That’s good enough for 71.3 percent of Alabama’s 1,754 rushing yards. The Tide average 195.3 yards on the ground each game. Henry has been held to less than 100 rushing yards in three games this year (Middle Tennessee State, Arkansas and Louisiana Monroe). He totaled 243 rushing yards in those three games combined and 384 rushing yards in the Tide’s only two road games.

    The Bulldogs do allow 167.7 rushing yards per game but have only given up 8 touchdowns on the ground. Only Troy and LSU have broken into the end zone via the rushing game more than once against them. Even though 5 of those touchdowns have come at home, Mississippi State allows 18.6 yards rushing less when playing in Starkville.

    Key Stats

    Alabama has won the last seven games against Mississippi State and controls the all-time series with a 77–18–3 record.

    The biggest point margin Mississippi State has won by was 22 points when the Bulldogs beat the Tide 29-7 back in 2000.

    Henry has rushed for 1,718 yards and 18 touchdowns in 20 career games against SEC opponents. That’s an average of 85.9 yards and 0.9 touchdowns per game.

    MORE: SEC Football Rankings And Reactions, Week 10


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