Mississippi St looks to bounce back vs. FCS E. Tennessee St


East Tennessee State (3-7) at Mississippi State (6-4), Saturday, 12 p.m. EST (ESPN+)


Series record: Mississippi State leads 1-0.

ETSU is trying to stop a four-game losing streak and beat an SEC school for a second straight year. The FCS Buccaneers defeated Vanderbilt 23-3 in Nashville last year. Mississippi state has lost three of four and is looking to rebound from last week’s 45-19 home loss to No. 1 Georgia. The Bulldogs won the first meeting in October 1998 53-6.

ETSU’s offense against the defense of the State of Mississippi. The Bucs, despite their record, average nearly 32 points per game and have at least 44 in their wins. They are less than a point from last year’s record of 32.7 per game when they reached the FCS Quarterfinals 11-2 under Randy Sanders. They will obviously face their biggest test against the Bulldogs, who are 26.1 points per game and ranked sixth in SEC total defense at 371.5 yards per game. MSU is looking for an improvement after top-ranked Georgia rushed for 468 yards in a 45-19 loss.

ETSU: RB Jacob Saylors. The senior has rushed for 1,264 yards and 15 touchdowns with 211 carries, his second consecutive 1,000-yard season. His total is the fourth-highest in Bucs history in a season, and he needs just 40 yards to edge Brandon Walker into third place.

State of Mississippi: QB Will Rogers. The Bulldog junior rushed for just 261 yards against Georgia but still leads SEC passers at 317.3 yards per game with 27 TDs. It was his 28th 200-yard streak, just one behind Dak Prescott’s 2012-15 school record. Considering he has numerous program milestones, this plateau should be easy to reach.

ETSU finished the Southern Conference game 1-7 under first-year coach George Quarles. …The Bucs are 2-13 for life against Power 5 teams, the other win came in 1987 against North Carolina State ( 29-14). That total marked her best performance against a Power 5 opponent. … Power 5 schools have outperformed ETSU by an average margin of 37.5-7.7. … MSU is targeting its first six-win season at home since 2018. … The Bulldogs have converted 28 of 31 chances in the red zone (90.3%) and are third in the SEC. … Their 17 sales and their plus 5 margin each rank third in the conference.

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