TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — No. 1 Alabama simply dispatched its largest department challenger, and now faces its closest rival.

Geographically, a minimum of.

The Pink Tide (Nine-Zero, 6-Zero Southeastern Convention, No. 1 CFP) hosts No. 18 Mississippi State (6-Three, 2-Three) Saturday seeking to prolong a 10-game profitable streak over the West Department rival from about 90 mins down the street.

Alabama is a 24-1/2-point favourite after a 29-Zero win over No. Nine LSU in what used to be presumed to be the most important common season check. That win secured a place towards No. five Georgia within the SEC championship sport on Dec. 1.

Tide gamers are nonetheless discovering tactics to encourage themselves even supposing the crew’s doubters are not precisely a large number of.

“They stated we have not performed any one and that our offense and protection had been very suspect,” tight finish Irv Smith Jr. stated. “We would have liked to move available in the market and display everyone what we had been able to doing.”

Smith’s conclusion after the Baton Rouge beatdown: “Offensively and defensively I believe like no one can forestall us within the nation.”

However the Bulldogs, led through quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, are sport to check out. The SEC’s top-rated general, scoring and go protection will get a shot at what no one else has been in a position to do: Include Alabama’s Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

Mississippi State has allowed simplest 9 touchdowns , fewest within the country, and ranks 2d permitting simply 12.Three issues in keeping with sport.

The Bulldogs offense, regardless that, has simplest crowned 10 issues two times in that decade-long shedding streak to the Tide, together with remaining 12 months’s 31-24 defeat.

“We communicate at all times right here in our construction and with our youngsters in regards to the time period ‘Championship Same old’ and, slightly frankly, that is what we’re chasing,” stated Bulldogs trainer Joe Moorhead, dealing with the Tide for the primary time.

“Alabama is the gold same old on this league. I informed the crew (Sunday) night time, no person falls to the highest of the mountain. Those guys have labored their tails off and earned the proper to be there. It’s our task to move available in the market and take a look at to knock them off.”

Listed below are every other issues to observe within the Mississippi State-Alabama sport:

HOME STREAK

The Tide has received 23 consecutive video games at house and may fit the college document set from 1971-74 at Legion Box and Bryant-Denny.

MISSISSIPPI STATE VS NO. 1:

The Bulldogs have performed the No. 1 crew within the nation 8 instances, and 7 of the ones video games were towards the Tide. The opposite used to be towards Florida in 2009. Mississippi State’s lone win towards the highest crew got here on Nov. 1, 1980, when the Bulldogs beat Alabama 6-Three in Jackson. The nearest Mississippi State has come to knocking off No. 1 since that sport used to be remaining season, when Alabama edged the Bulldogs 31-24 in Starkville.

BALL SECURITY:

Mississippi State is the one crew within the Soccer Bowl Subdivision that hasn’t misplaced a fumble this 12 months. It is a streak that incorporates 344 speeding makes an attempt. Fitzgerald has misplaced a fumble simplest 3 times in his profession and all 3 got here in 2016. Since then, he is had 458 carries with out a misplaced fumble.

TAGOVAILOA VS. FITZGERALD

They are two very other quarterbacks however each are bad. Tagovailoa is without doubt one of the country’s height passers with 27 touchdowns and only one interception (coming towards LSU). He did run for a 44-yard landing in that sport in spite of a gimpy proper knee, however principally makes performs along with his left arm.

Fitzgerald is the SEC’s all-time profession chief in yards speeding for a quarterback and ranks 2d within the league general with 104.Nine yards in keeping with sport.

“He is were given a really perfect arm and he is an excessively efficient passer when he must be,” Alabama trainer Nick Saban stated. “This man’s were given to be one of the vital easiest dual-threat quarterbacks within the nation.”

DEFENSIVE LINE STARS

This sport will function probably the most SEC’s height defensive linemen, from Alabama’s Quinnen Williams, Raekwon Davis and Isaiah Buggs to Mississippi State’s Montez Sweat and Jeffery Simmons.

Sweat is 2d within the league with Nine.five sacks and Buggs is true in the back of at Nine.Zero. Williams has emerged as one of the vital Tide’s largest stars in his first season as a starter.

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AP Sports activities Author David Brandt in Starkville, Mississippi, contributed to this record.

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