No. 17 Mississippi State Bulldogs (3-0 SU, 3-0 ATS) vs. No. 11 Georgia Bulldogs (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS)
College Football Week 4
Date/Time: Saturday September 23rd, 2017. 7:00PM (EST)
Where: Sanford Stadium Athens, G.A.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: MSST +6.5/UGA -6.5
Over/Under Total: TBA
Last week the Mississippi State Bulldogs shook up the SEC with a stunning 37-7 blowout victory over no. 12 LSU in Starkville. The previously unranked Bulldogs catapulted to no. 17 in this weeks latest poles following the decisive victory over an LSU team many thought would challenge in the SEC West. Instead, the Bulldogs out of the West have suddenly emerged as an unforeseen contender. Can Mississippi State back up their success with another stiff challenge on the road this Saturday between the hedges? We will find out this weekend when the Bulldogs of the West meet the Bulldogs of the East in an SEC showdown between Mississippi State and Georgia.
The fact that Mississippi State upset LSU last weekend was not surprising. After all, the Bulldogs were only 7 point underdogs so bigger upsets have happened. However, the way that Mississippi State dismantled LSU in every facet of the game was truly unexpected. The Mississippi State defense played well stifling LSUs running attack and allowing just 270 total yards. The Mississippi State offense led by quarterback Nick Fitzgerald was firing on all cylinders. Fitzgerald personally terrorized LSUs highly praised defense by completing accurate passes down the field and then converting first downs with his feet. Together Fitzgerald completed 15 of 23 for 180 yards with 2 scores and then rushed for another 88 yards with 2 additional touchdowns on the ground.
The entire Mississippi State offense has looked pretty strong this season. Fitzgerald has played well and the running game has been strong behind junior Aeris Williams who is averaging 7 yards per carry. Williams was disruptive in the victory over LSU rushing for 146 yards on 23 carries. Combined, Mississippi States offense has racked up nearly 300 yards per game on the ground this season ranking 11th in the FBS. If they can continue to have this type of success on the ground, Fitzgerald is a capable quarterback to mix in plays with his arm which makes this entire offense very tough to defend.
Therefore, I expect Georgias defense to have their hands full on Saturday. The Bulldogs defense has improved under 2nd year Head Coach Kirby Smart and this same defense held Notre Dame to just 266 total yards two weeks ago. Obviously Georgias chances to win this football game and cover the spread rely heavily on the play of their defense yet again. Since quarterback Jacon Eason went down in the opener with a sprained knee ligament, the offense has not been very explosive. Freshman quarterback Jake Fromm has completed 59% passing with 5 scores and 1 pick. However, the play calling has been in large favor to the running game. In fact, Fromm has yet to throw for more than 200 yards.
Of course Georgia does not have to rely on its passing capabilities most weeks. Running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel are excellent rushers that have averaged more than 5 yards per carry each throughout their collegiate career. In the last two years, both rushers have combined for just less than 4,000 yards rushing. Therefore, they are in essence the heart and soul of this Georgia offense. However, I do think Georgia needs some help from the quarterback play to win this weekend. Do they let Fromm throw the football more? Will Eason play? Those are legitimate questions that cannot be answered at this time. Eason was back in practice on Monday but he was limited. I think most would agree that Easons return is probably not likely however it has not been ruled out either.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I was completely wrong on Mississippi State last week. I thought they would succumb to the LSU defense but their offense was truly impressive. If they can maintain that level of play, they will score another win this weekend. Georgia is not quite where they need to be and this game comes at an opportunistic timing for Mississippi State. Take Mississippi State +6.5. – Bet your pick for this game using your credit card at a sportsbook where it WILL work for deposits and take advantage of their 100% signup bonus on your first deposit up to $100! (Example: Deposit $100 and they’ll give you an extra $100 FREE!) Find this great offer at Intertops Sportsbook.