MSU-USM winner will take lead in series

Mississippi State hosts Southern Miss today (Saturday) at 2:30 p.m. in what will be the 30th meeting between the two programs. Though the Bulldogs have won their last four against the Golden Eagles, the all-time series is tied at 14, with one previous meeting ending with a tie. Both teams are hoping to build off Week 1 victories to earn another win over a cross-state rival. 

Today, 2:30 p.m. ESPNU

Southern Miss (1-0) at

Mississippi State (1-0)

Radio: 104.5 FM (USM)

98.1 (Mississippi State)

The Bulldogs new starting quarterback Tommy Stevens led them to a 38-28 win over the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns last Saturday in New Orleans. The Penn State transfer completed 20 of 30 attempts for 236 passing yards and two touchdowns in his debut with the team. Junior running back Kylin Hill had 197 rushing yards as head coach Joe Moorhead's team showed a balanced offense in its opener.

The Bulldogs' biggest concerns come from the defensive side of the ball. With just three starters returning from last fall, some regression was expected and that was certainly the case against Louisiana. The Ragin' Cajuns totaled 430 yards of offense against the Bulldogs, including 163 on the ground. Even though Mississippi State gave up a bunch of yards, four forced turnovers allowed them to minimize the damage Louisiana was able to inflict on the scoreboard. Starting defensive end Lee Autry and linebacker Willie Gay Jr. will return to the field in Week 2 after serving suspensions during opening weekend. 

Jay Hopson's Golden Eagles rolled past FCS opponent Alcorn State 38-10 at home in their season debut. The team was led by junior quarterback Jack Abraham, who threw for 293 yards and a touchdown, along with Jaylond Adams, who scored two touchdowns on special teams. Though the team was without its No. 1 receiver, senior Jordan Mitchell rose to the occasion and caught seven passes for 133 yards. 

The question for Southern Miss will be whether they can establish an effective running game. The Eagles managed just 96 rushing yards against Alcorn State, needing 31 carries to get there. Dee Baker was the leading rusher with 35 yards on eight carries. Steven Anderson also got eight attempts, but he finished with 22 yards. Starting sophomore Trivenskey Mosley is expected to miss Week 2's matchup after an injury suffered in the first quarter against the Braves. 

On paper, Southern Miss seems to present a much more formidable defense to Mississippi State than the Ragin’ Cajuns. The Eagles ranked third nationally last season in total defense (278.4 ypg) and 19th in scoring defense. They were stout against both the run and pass, leaving little room for error. Six of their starting defenders are back this fall.

Kickoff will take place at 2:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon at Davis Wade Stadium. For any fans interested, the Dawg Walk will begin in the Junction at 12:15 p.m., the same time that the stadium gates open.

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