It’s a crossover matchup between a pair of SEC foes in week 2 of the college football schedule. The South Carolina Gamecocks look for their second straight conference road win as they go west to face the Mississippi State Bulldogs Saturday night. Kickoff from Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville, Mississippi is set for 7:00 pm ET and is televised nationally on ESPN2. In this contest, the Vegas odds have installed Mississippi State as a 6.5 point favorite with the over/under set at 45 points.
South Carolina vs. Mississippi State Vegas Betting Preview
South Carolina opened the Will Muschamp era with a come from behind 13-10 victory at Vanderbilt last Thursday. Mississippi State blew a 17-0 halftime lead and lost 21-20 to South Alabama Saturday night. This is the 16th all-time meeting between the two programs. South Carolina has a 9-6 advantage in the series and won the last seven matchups. That includes a 34-16 victory in Columbia in 2013 in the last matchup between the teams. Mississippi State’s last win was a 17-0 triumph in 1999. South Carolina’s coach in that game was Lou Holtz.
Free Pick and Betting Spread Prediction: South Carolina +6.5
South Carolina was in a 10-0 hole at the half but kept Vanderbilt off the board the rest of the way. The offense sputtered the majority of the game with the Gamecocks’ most dangerous weapon being kicker Elliott Fry. He kicked a 48 yard field goal in the third quarter to cut South Carolina’s deficit to 10-3. With the game tied in the final minute, Muschamp called Fry’s number again and he delivered. Fry’s 55 yard field goal with 35 seconds remaining to give South Carolina the victory. The Gamecocks held the Commodores to 242 yards of offense and 14 first downs in the game. The inspired defensive performance was a nice change from a year ago.
Last year’s starter at quarterback, Perry Orth, completed 11 of 19 passes for 152 yards after getting the start at quarterback. Freshman Brandon McIlwain saw some action as well, completing 5 of 11 passes for 35 yards. He added 29 yards on seven rushing attempts. It remains to be seen who gets the majority of the reps going forward. A.J. Turner ran the ball 13 times for 70 yards while Deebo Samuel (two catches, 36 yards) had South Carolina’s lone touchdown on an eight yard run. Bryan Edwards led South Carolina with eight grabs for 101 yards. The Gamecocks can’t afford to turn the ball over twice as they did last week. They also can’t count on Fry to constantly bail them out.
Mississippi State was the complete opposite of South Carolina last week. While the Gamecocks were down double digits at the half but came back to win, the Bulldogs had a double digit lead at the break before going on to lose. The Bulldogs missed prime chances to put the game away and the defense wilted in the fourth quarter. Mississippi State allowed two fourth quarter touchdowns to erase a 20-7 advantage. While Fry was the hero for the Gamecocks, Westin Graves was just 2 of 4 on field goal attempts for Mississippi State. His 28 yard try in the closing seconds clanked harmlessly off the right upright.
Nick Fitzgerald was the starter at quarterback but was pulled after misfiring on his three attempts. He did run for 11 yards on two carries. Damian Williams took over, hitting 20 of 28 passes for 143 yards and a score. One has to wonder if Dan Mullen turns the starting offense over to Williams. He added 93 yards on the ground to lead the Bulldogs. Brandon Holloway had 11 carries for 48 yards and a score. Fred Ross led Mississippi State with six catches for 34 yards while Holloway had five grabs for 40 yards. The Bulldogs’ defense was worn out in the fourth quarter as South Alabama held a 36:41 to 23:19 advantage in time of possession.
Mississippi State has to prove that they deserve to be favored after choking away their opener. South Carolina played with a grit and intensity that was lacking most of last season. The Gamecocks still are going to struggle to reach bowl eligibility but they won’t get blown out either. This shapes up as another low scoring game and that is in the Gamecocks’ wheelhouse. Take the points in this contest. You can catch up on all our free college football picks with the click of your mouse!
South Carolina is 4-1 ATS in their last five conference games and 5-2 ATS in their last seven overall.