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No. 5 Alabama aims to rebound from loss at Mississippi State

October 14, 2021 GMT
Alabama running back Brian Robinson Jr. (4) breaks free for a gain along the sideline against Texas A&M during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, in College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/Sam Craft)
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Alabama running back Brian Robinson Jr. (4) breaks free for a gain along the sideline against Texas A&M during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, in College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/Sam Craft)
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Alabama running back Brian Robinson Jr. (4) breaks free for a gain along the sideline against Texas A&M during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, in College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/Sam Craft)

No. 5 Alabama (5-1, 2-1 SEC) at Mississippi State (3-2, 1-1), Saturday at 7 p.m. EDT (ESPN).

Line: Alabama by 16 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: Alabama leads 85-17-3.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

Alabama aims to bounce back from a loss at Texas A&M that dropped the Crimson Tide from No. 1 and remain in contention in what is now a wide-open SEC West. Mississippi State had a bye after upsetting A&M and seeks consecutive wins for the second time this season. The Bulldogs also look to avenge last year’s 41-0 shutout loss to the Crimson Tide.

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KEY MATCHUP

Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers vs. Alabama’s pass defense. Rogers has passed for 14 touchdowns through the Air Raid offense and directs a unit that leads the SEC with 372.4 yards per game. He’s coming off a 408-yard, three-TD effort at Texas A&M two weeks ago. He’ll face an Alabama defense yielding just 195.2 yards per outing.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Alabama sophomore linebacker Will Anderson Jr., an Associated Press preseason first team All-America selection, leads the SEC with 1.83 tackles for loss per game (for minus-37 yards) and ranks third nationally. He has 20.5 stops for minus-85 yards over his past 13 contests, including eight with at least 1.5 TFLs.

Mississippi State WR Makai Polk is averaging an SEC-best 9.2 receptions per game after catching 13 for 126 yards two weeks ago. He has double-digit catches in three of five games.

FACTS & FIGURES

Alabama has faced Mississippi State more than any other team and has won the past 13 in the series. ... The Crimson Tide has rebounded from a loss with a win 15 times since 2008, outscoring opponents 487-150. ... Last week’s loss snapped a 19-game winning streak overall and a 100-game streak against unranked opponents. ... Rogers’ TD total through five games is more than recent MSU standouts Dak Prescott (13 in 2014) and Tyler Russell (10, 2012). ... MSU ranks ninth nationally in run defense (89 yards allowed per game). ... The Bulldogs have allowed just 18 tackles for loss, fewest in the SEC.

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