Mississippi State/Memphis preview:
STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI)- The Bulldogs’ quest for a 3-0 start will involve making the trek west on U.S. 82 and north up I-55 all the way to Memphis. It’s about two hours and 45 minutes from Starkville. They’ll probably fly, though.
The Tigers are coming off a 55-50 win over Arkansas State. They have put up some serious points in the first two weeks of action, but struggled defensively. They are 125th (out of 130) in yards allowed per game in the FBS ranks, giving up just over 500 per contest.
Mississippi State head coach Mike Leach says his offense is going to have to be prepared to put up points though, as some parts of the Tigers’ defense sticks out to him.
“Their defense runs around well,” Leach said. “The biggest thing that jumps off is experience. They’re all seniors and have been there and have started more games in college than ours did in high school.”
The Bulldogs will be heading up there with a good amount of confidence after Saturday’s bounce-back performance against NC State. They showed improvement in the 24-10 win over the Wolfpack, especially on the defensive side of the ball, following their narrow 35-34 victory against Louisiana Tech the week prior in a game they were favored to win by 23 points.
This week, the Bulldogs are 3.5-point favorites against the Tigers. Memphis head coach Ryan Silverfield believes that MSU is on the right track.
“They’ve been absolutely dynamic in all three phases. Leach is an offensive guru and has had a lot of success everywhere he has been,” Silverfield said. “Their defense has made a name for themselves.”
Kickoff is Saturday at 3 o’clock on ESPN2.