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Alabama vs. Mississippi State NCAA Week 5: Keep fading Crimson Tide on road in possible trap

Never count out Alabama under Nick Saban. The #RollTide saved their SEC title and College Football Playoff title hopes last Saturday with a 24-10 home win over No. 15 Ole Miss. Perhaps the offense isn’t fixed yet under QB Jalen Milroe, but the defense was tremendous in holding the Rebs 200 yards below their season average. No. 12 Alabama could be staring at a trap game Saturday, however, when they visit unranked Mississippi State, and the SBIA Model has a one-unit play on the Bulldogs at +15.

For whatever reason, Alabama has become very mortal away from home all of a sudden at 0-4 against the spread in its past four road games. Those date to the last-second losses at Tennessee and LSU last season and a close win at Ole Miss. The lone road game this year was a shockingly close 17-3 victory at a bad South Florida team on Sept. 16.

Can Will Rogers lead an upset of Alabama?

The Alabama defense allowed 34 points and 454 yards in the home upset against Texas a few weeks ago but is allowing just 6.7 points and 258.7 ypg in its other three games. There is no QB controversy this week at least after reinstated starter Milroe connected on 17-of-21 passes for 225 yards and a touchdown through the air with a pick against the Rebs. The offensive line has been shaky in the early going, allowing a sack on 14.4% of dropbacks (third worst in the FBS).

Saban is 15-1 (.938) in SEC road openers since he arrived in 2007, with the lone loss coming at Ole Miss in 2014. Alabama has won 34 of its past 35 road games overall against unranked foes with the last loss in 2021 at Texas A&M. Saban is 20-1 in his career against Mississippi State, including a 15-1 mark while at UA. The Tide have won 15 straight in the series, including 30-6 last year in Tuscaloosa. Could be easy for them to be looking ahead to a trip to Texas A&M on Oct. 7.

Bulldogs quarterback Will Rogers has been around forever and his 11,668 yards passing are No. 3 all-time in SEC history. In last Saturday’s 37-30 loss at South Carolina, Rogers threw for a career-high 487 yards. This season already, he has passed Danny Weurffel, Eric Zeier, Peyton Manning, Chris Leak and David Greene on the all-time SEC list.

Wideout Tulu Griffin set a program record vs. South Carolina for receiving yards in a single game with 256. Running back Jo’Quavious Marks ranks second in the SEC in rushing yards with 352 and is tied for third in rushing touchdowns with four. Marks is the only active FBS player with 1,000 career rushing yards and 1,000 career receiving yards.

#HailState is trying to avoid its first three-game losing streak in three years. It has failed to cover its past four games as a double-digit home dog and failed to cover five straight in this series regardless of location.

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