Oct 8, 2016; Starkville, MS, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Dan Mullen yells during the second half of the game against the Auburn Tigers at Davis Wade Stadium. Auburn won 38-14. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Preview: Mississippi State Steps Out of Conference to Play BYU

Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen is learning the hard way what life is like without quarterback Dak Prescott.

Rough Start

The Bulldogs are 2-3, their worst start in three years, and are 1-2 in SEC play. They suffered a shocking opening defeat to South Alabama and are coming off a humiliating 38-14 loss to the Auburn Tigers. There are some positives, however. New starting quarterback Nick Fitzgerald has proven to be an effective dual-threat quarterback with 784 yards through the air and 390 yards on the ground (leads all Mississippi State rushers). Wide receiver Fred Ross has five receiving touchdowns through five games.

Mullen said he liked his team’s focus from this week’s practice and that they’re ready to take on BYU.

BYU Season

The Cougars are in their first year with new head coach Kalani Sitake. They are currently 3-3 and are coming off a convincing 31-14 victory over the Michigan State Spartans. Quarterback Taysom Hill has been up and down. He’s averaging 209 yards per game on a respectable 60.6 completion percentage. However, he also has six touchdowns to go along with six interceptions.

On the other hand, running back Jamaal Williams has been a workhorse for the Cougars. The senior has 10 touchdowns through six games and is averaging 144.3 rushing yards per game on 6.2 yards per carry. The Bulldogs are allowing 134.2 rushing yards per game and Williams could take advantage of that. However, the Cougars could find themselves on the losing end if Fitzgerald exposes the team’s weak secondary (allowing 278.7 passing yards per game).

The game will be Friday at 10:15 p.m. in Provo, Utah.

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