No. 13 Auburn, No. 24 Mississippi State in SEC West matchup

Published 11:25 am Thursday, September 28, 2017

No. 24 Mississippi State (3-1, 1-1 SEC) at No. 13 Auburn (3-1, 1-0), Saturday, 5 p.m. (ESPN).

Line: Auburn by 9.

Series record: Auburn leads 62-26-2.

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The winner controls its own fate in the Southeastern Conference Western Division and emerges as the biggest division challenger to No. 1 Alabama. The loser faces an uphill battle in that competition.


Auburn’s defense against Mississippi State’s offense. The Tigers rank fourth nationally in total defense and seventh in scoring defense. Mississippi State has the SEC’s No. 2 run offense and No. 3 scoring offense.


Mississippi St: QB Nick Fitzgerald is a double threat who ranks 10th in the SEC in rushing yards but isn’t among the league’s top 10 passers. Clemson’s Kelly Bryant managed a few big runs against Auburn’s defense.

Auburn: RBs Kamryn Pettway and Kerryon Johnson are both strong runners. Injuries and Pettway’s one-game suspension have kept them from the backfield in the same game so far this season. With Pettway sidelined by a lower leg injury against Missouri, Johnson ran for five touchdowns.


This is the Bulldogs’ third straight game against a team ranked in the Top 15, including a 37-7 win over LSU and a 31-3 loss at Georgia. No other team has done that so far this season. The Bulldogs haven’t faced back-to-back Top 15 teams on the road since visiting then-No. 14 South Carolina and then No. 11 Texas A&M in November, 2013. … Auburn has a 28-7 record against Mississippi State at home. … Three of the last seven meetings have come down to the game’s final drive. … Auburn and Clemson are the only FBS teams ranked in the Top 10 in total defense, scoring defense and passing defense. … The Bulldogs have allowed only one sack this season. The only other Power 5 teams to allow one or none are Minnesota and Iowa State.