No. 18 Mississippi State ready for road at Kansas State
No. 18 Mississippi State (1-0) at Kansas State (1-0), noon ET (ESPN)
Line: Mississippi State by 9½.
Series record: Tied 1-1
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Mississippi State and Kansas State are both trendy, off-the-radar picks to contend for their conference titles. The Bulldogs did little to dispute that last week against Stephen F. Austin in a 63-6 rout, while the Wildcats needed a fourth-quarter comeback in a 27-24 victory over South Dakota. It is Mississippi State’s first true road game against a Power Five opponent since Sept. 20, 2008.
Mississippi State QB Nick Fitzgerald vs. Kansas State pass defense. Fitzgerald was suspended for the Bulldogs’ season opener for a violation of team rules, and all backup Keytaeon Thompson did was tie a single-game SEC record with seven TDs passing and rushing.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Mississippi State: Fitzgerald. The Heisman Trophy contender was demoted to scout team last week but was back in the No. 1 spot after serving his suspension. Fitzgerald threw for 1,782 and 15 TDs while running for 984 and 14 more scores last season.
Kansas State: Whoever is under center. QB Skylar Thompson is expect to start for the second straight game, but Alex Delton will also play. Both quarterbacks struggled last week against the Coyotes.
FACTS & FIGURES
The Bulldogs last visited Manhattan in 1977. ... Mississippi State’s last nonconference road win against a Power Five team came against Baylor on Sept. 16, 1995. ... The last time the Bulldogs played a Big 12 team was their 2013 opener, a 21-3 loss to Oklahoma State. ... Bulldogs DE Montez Sweat had two sacks against Stephen F. Austin. He led the SEC with 10½ last season. ... Fitzgerald needs 36 yards rushing to pass Dak Prescott (2,521) for seventh-most in school history. He needs 73 to pass Michael Haddix and break into Mississippi State’s top five. ... Wildcats WR Isaiah Zuber had a TD catch and returned a punt 85 yards for another score last week. ... Four of Kansas State’s last five wins dating to last season have been double-digit comebacks. Three of those occurred in the fourth quarter. ... Kansas State had 13 penalties for 129 yards last week against South Dakota.
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