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Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald (7) tries to escape pressure from Alabama linebacker Mack Wilson (30) during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Mississippi State hosts Arkansas in SEC matchup

Week 12 of SEC Football will feature a matchup between the No. 21 Mississippi State Bulldogs and the Arkansas Razorbacks. Both teams are coming off conference losses and need a game to patch up some holes that have been exposed. The Razorbacks will travel to Starkville without a conference win this season, and a Bulldogs team that has had a lot of offensive struggles will have plenty of questions to answer in Saturday’s noon game.

Stagnant Offense, but Stout Defense

The Bulldogs (6-4, 2-4 SEC) didn’t score in last week’s lopsided 24-0 loss to Alabama.

Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald failed to put up impressive numbers, going 11-for-20 with just 125 passing yards and -23 rushing yards.

Mississippi State’s passing offense has been hit or miss for most of the season. The Bulldogs rank seventh in the SEC in total offense but next to last in passing offense (only ahead of Kentucky). Their ground attack, which ranks third in the SEC, has been able to keep them afloat when their passing game has failed.

Coach Joe Moorhead is looking for more balance from his team when they take on the 2-8 (0-6 SEC) Razorbacks on Saturday.

One of the lone bright spots of last week’s defeat is that the Bulldogs defense held No. 1 Alabama to its lowest scoring output of the season.

Led by defensive ends Montez Sweat and Jeffery Simmons, who are some of the best pass rushers in the SEC and among the best defensive tandems in the nation, the Bulldogs are only allowing 281 rushing yards per game.

Sweat leads the team with seven sacks this season, and he and Simmons and the rest of the Bulldogs defensive front will have a favorable matchup against an underwhelming Arkansas offense.

Razorbacks coach Chad Morris says his team will face a tough challenge in the Bulldogs’ fast and physical defensive front, and they need to take advantage of each little opportunity.

No easy opponents

Ask any SEC coach or player about the Southeastern Conference, and each will give the same answer: No game in the SEC is guaranteed.

Tennessee’s 24-7 upset win over Kentucky last week proved it.

That’s why the Bulldogs won’t look past Arkansas despite their record because a couple of their games this year could have easily been wins.

Moorhead says the Razorbacks have continued to fight all throughout the season.

Even though the Bulldogs got the victory when the teams met last year, the Razorbacks lead the all-time series 16-11.

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