Mississippi State, South Carolina both looking for first SEC win this season
Thu, Sep 21, 2023
NCAAF News (AP)
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Mississippi State (2-1, 0-1 Southeastern Conference) at South Carolina (1-2, 0-1), 7:30 p.m. ET (SEC Network)
Line: South Carolina by 5 1-2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Series record: South Carolina leads 9-7.
WHAT'S AT STAKE?
Both these teams opened with losses to last year's participants in the SEC championship game, the Bulldogs falling to West Division champion LSU 41-14 and the Gamecocks to two-time defending national champs Georgia 24-14. The next loss would leave each program in an 0-2 hole with plenty of potent teams ahead.
South Carolina QB Spencer Rattler vs. the Mississippi State defense. Think stoppable force against the moveable object as both the Gamecocks offense and Bulldogs defense are near the bottom of the SEC early on. South Carolina is last in scoring (26 points a game) while Mississippi State is next to last in yards allowed (389.6 per game). If Rattler can get the Gamecocks going, the Bulldogs have shown vulnerability in slowing teams down.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Mississippi State: RB Jo'Quavious Marks leads the SEC with 325 yards rushing and picked up his 200th career reception to break the program record. Marks needs four more catches to break into the SEC's all-time top-10.
South Carolina: WR Xavier Legette is second in the SEC and sixth nationally with 122.3 yards receiving yards per game. He's also leads the league with 148 all-purpose yards per contest.
FACTS & FIGURES
Gamecocks are retiring the No. 1 of former All-American receiver and Super Bowl champion Alshon Jeffery, who had 183 catches for 3,042 yards and 23 touchdowns in three seasons. ... Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers has started 34 straight games for the program. That's the longest current SEC streak at one school. ... These teams haven't played since Mississippi State's 27-14 win at home in 2016. Before that, South Carolina had won seven straight dating to 2000. ... Shane Beamer worked on Mississippi State's staff for head coach Sylvester Croom. ... Rogers is sixth on the SEC's all-time passing yards list at 11,181. Aaron Murray of Georgia is the record holder at 13,161. ... South Carolina defensive tackle T.J. Sanders has been a force up front with 15 tackles, including four behind the line of scrimmage. He's got two of the Gamcocks five sacks this season. ... Bulldogs receiver Lideatrick "Tulu" Griffin has caught at least one pass in 18 straight games, going back to September 2021. ... South Carolina is dead last in the SEC at 53 rushing yards per game. That's less than half the average (111 yards) of 13th-place Vanderbilt.
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