Alabama Football: Mississippi State Bulldogs Defensive Preview


Alabama Football takes on the Mississippi State Bulldogs, and is hoping to bounce back from its first loss of the season. The Alabama offense has scored at least 49 points in five out of six games that Bryce Young has started, and is continuing to gel as a unit.

The Mississippi State defense does a lot of bending and not much breaking. It allows just 21.9 points per game, but ranks 65th in total defense (375.1 YPG).

Alabama Football: Mississippi State run defense

The most glaring weakness that the Alabama offense could capitalize on is the Mississippi State run defense. State ranks 80th giving up 152.9 rushing yards per game. It also ranks 109th in yards per carry defense (4.6 YPC). By comparison, Alabama averages 6.5 yards per carry and has led the nation in that statistic for most of the season.

Behind an improved offensive line, Jahmyr Gibbs, Jase McClellan and company should be able to run all over the Bulldog defense.

Seniors Cameron Young, Nathan Pickering, and Randy Charlton are the leaders on the defensive line. Charlton, a former UCF transfer, has two sacks on the season and ten in his career. Pickering also has two sacks this year and 11 in his career.

Linebackers Jett Johnson, Nathaniel Watson, and Tyrus Wheat are the strength of the front seven. Johnson leads the team with 67 tackles, Watson is second with 58 stops, and Wheat has made 28 tackles. Watson and Wheat have also been effective pressuring the passer, and tie for the team lead with 3.0 sacks each.

Alabama Football: Mississippi State pass defense

The Mississippi State pass defense has been pretty solid, and has not allowed more than 276 yards in a game this season. However, Alabama easily boasts the best quarterback and passing offense State has played thus far.

Still, this secondary has some talented pieces and should provide a good test for Bryce Young and the Crimson Tide offense. Emmanuel Forbes has been one of the best cornerbacks in the nation. He leads the country with five picks and has returned two of them for touchdowns. In his career, the electric junior has 13 interceptions and five returns for touchdowns.

On the other side, Decamerion Richardson is solid as well, and leads the secondary with 48 tackles. Mississippi State also has a trio of good safeties on the back end. Collin Duncan (33 tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles), Jalen Green (31 tackles, one interception, one fumble recovery), and Jackie Matthews (28 tackles, one interception) all bring a lot of Power Five playing experience to the table.

Despite its defensive backs being the overwhelming strength of its defense, Mississippi State has still posted just average numbers defending the pass. Assuming he gets good protection, Bryce Young could pick them apart. He would be wise to avoid Forbes, which should be an easy task considering the balance in Alabama’s receiver room. Young should also be assisted by an effective running game. On paper, Bama should run the ball easily against the Bulldogs.

Mississippi State offensive preview. dark. Next

The Alabama offense ranks as one of the nation’s best, and hopes to continue that production against a subpar Mississippi State defense.