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Dawgs Against Dores: Three Predictions For Saturday's Game

Three things to watch as Mississippi State and Vanderbilt face off Saturday in Nashville.

Mississippi State (3-3) and Vanderbilt (2-5) are only hours away from kickoff as they prepare to face each other this afternoon in Nashville. 

Both teams are coming off losses and hope to find some sort of redemption on Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs most recently dropped a 49-9 loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide in Davis Wade Stadium just a week after recording a 26-22 statement win over the Texas A&M Aggies, while Vanderbilt most recently fell 21-20 to the South Carolina Gamecocks on the road.

Before the game gets underway, here are three bold predictions about gameplay and the end result.  

1. Mississippi State's defense will dominate.

MSU's defense has played well, for the most part, this season, but after a blowout loss against Alabama, they will be eager to prove themselves. They will have the perfect opportunity to do that against the struggling Commodores. Vandy has more turnovers than touchdowns-- 13 and eight, respectively. Out of those turnovers, eight have been interceptions and five have been fumbles. This statistic does not take into account the four other times that the Commodores fumbled the ball but were able to recover it. Turnovers aren't the only area that Vanderbilt has struggled in this season. 

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The Commodores can't seem to get much yardage. They average around 310 yards per game, but State's defense gives up approximately 356 yards. The opponents the two have faced are very different, but a difference between yardage that is that high is something to keep an eye on.

2. The Bulldogs will not need field goals because they will have much more success finding the end zone.

Quite a few of MSU games this season have come down to made or missed field goals throughout the course of the games. That will likely not be the case for the Bulldogs this weekend. The Air Raid is already a touchdown-heavy offense, and against a Vanderbilt defense that is highly considered to have one of the worst defenses in the SEC, it seems like there will be few situations in which the field goal unit will take the field to add on three points. 

If the Bulldogs are able to march down the field against the Commodores, then there will be very few things that can stop them and field goals will become unnecessary. Last weekend's game against Alabama relied solely on field goals simply because the Bulldogs could not find the red zone through the tough defense and needed to add on points whenever they could. Going from playing against one of the best defenses to one of the worst should work in MSU's favor, and they will probably score a touchdown just about every time they cross into field goal range. 

3. The game will be close.

Last season, State pulled out a 24-17 victory over the Commodores, but the win did not come easily. Vandy mounted a fourth-quarter comeback to try and take the lead in the end but were stopped by MSU's defense. This season's game will be a lot like the one last season. Both teams have experienced players returning in key positions that they played in last season. 

On top of that, both teams struggle to put many points on the scoreboard. Mississippi State averages roughly 25 points per game, while Vanderbilt usually tallies around 14.  MSU has a key advantage there, but the Commodores will come out to play with a chip on their shoulder in front of a homecoming crowd. Both teams will cling to any momentum they have. The Bulldogs are heavily favored to win, but that does not mean it will be an easy blowout. Vanderbilt is a worthy SEC opponent that should be taken seriously.