Mississippi St. Win Total Pick
The first year of the Joe Moorhead-era saw Mississippi State go 8-5 last season. Will the Bulldogs be able to build off of that in 2019?
After a four-year run at Fordham, Moorhead was hired to take over at Mississippi State for the departing Dan Mullen in 2018. The Bulldogs went 8-5 on the season with a 4-4 record in the SEC. According to oddsmakers, the Bulldogs are listed with an over/under of 6.5 wins for the 2019 regular season. The over is listed with -145 odds, while the under is set at +125.
Mississippi State didn’t have the offense it had been grown accustomed to having last season. The Bulldogs averaged just 28.5 points and 397.4 yards per game last year and were 112th in passing at 173.8 yards per contest. The Bulldogs had a dual-threat QB in Nick Fitzgerald, who threw for 1,615 yards and rushed for 1,108. He is gone, which puts the ball in the hands of Keytaon Thompson, who threw for 458 yards and six touchdowns in 2018. He will need to develop some solid receivers, as nobody had more than 24 receptions in 2018. On the ground, Thompson rushed for 216 yards on 21 carries while Kylin Hill had 691 yards and four scores. He returns for Mississippi State as well.
Mississippi State had the nation’s top defense last year, allowing just 13.2 points per game while allowing only 263.2 yards per game. However, the unit loses eight starters from a year ago. The unit forced 18 turnovers, including 12 interceptions. Cameron Dantzler had two of the INT’s, tied for a team high, and is the lone returning starter in the secondary. Mississippi State should still be strong at linebacker. Erroll Thompson had 81 tackles and 3.5 sacks last year while Willie Gay Jr. had 40 tackles and 4.5 sacks.
Mississippi State has three very manageable non-conference home games with Louisiana, Southern Miss and Abilene Christian. The Bulldogs also host Kansas State, which will be their toughest non-conference game. In SEC play, Mississippi State hosts Kentucky, LSU, Alabama and Ole Miss. The Bulldogs will travel to Auburn, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Arkansas.
The Bulldogs had the nation’s top defense and still lost five games. Their offense let them down in a big way, and I am not sure if they are going to make much of a jump forward. The Bulldogs have a new starting QB and lose three starters on the O-line. That could be a real problem, as it is hard to see the Mississippi State defense being as good this year. Losing eight starters is likely to set the unit back. In SEC play, it’s going to be tough for Mississippi State to compete week-to-week with no offense. The Bulldogs had their toughest games on the road last year, while this year Alabama and LSU come to Starkville. I don’t see them winning those games at home while road losses should continue with such a poor offense.
College Football Prediction: Mississippi State Under 8 wins +125