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+)

FANDUEL SPORTSBOOK COLLEGE LINE: No line.

Series record: Mississippi State leads 1-0.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

ETSU looks to halt a four-game losing streak and beat a SEC school for the second consecutive season. The FCS Buccaneers topped Vanderbilt 23-3 in Nashville last year. Mississippi State has lost three of four and looks to rebound from last week’s 45-19 home loss to No. 1 Georgia. The Bulldogs won the first meeting 53-6 in October 1998.

KEY MATCHUP

ETSU’s offense vs. Mississippi State’s defense. The Bucs average nearly 32 points per game despite their record and have scored at least 44 in their victories. They’re less than a point off last year’s record of 32.7 per game, when they went 11-2 and reached the FCS quarterfinals under Randy Sanders. They’ll obviously face their biggest test against the Bulldogs, who are yielding 26.1 points per outing and rank sixth in SEC total defense at 371.5 yards per game. MSU seeks improvement after top-ranked Georgia rolled up 468 yards in a 45-19 rout.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

ETSU: RB Jacob Saylors. The senior has rushed for 1,264 yards and 15 touchdowns on 211 carries, his second consecutive season over 1,000 yards. His total is fourth most in Bucs’ single-season history, and he needs just 40 yards to supplant Brandon Walker for third place.

Mississippi State: QB Will Rogers. The Bulldog junior managed 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 performance, just one behind Dak Prescott’s school record from 2012-15. Considering he owns numerous program milestones, that plateau should be easy to reach.

FACTS & FIGURES

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

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