Western Michigan (2-3) at Mississippi State (2-3), Saturday, 12 p.m. ET (SEC)
Line: Mississippi State by 20 1/2, according to FanDuel.com Sportsbook.
Series: First meeting.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Mississippi State steps away from SEC play after losing three consecutive league games to face Western Michigan for the first time. The visiting Broncos seek their first win over a Power 5 team this season after losing to Syracuse and No. 25 Iowa last month.
Western Michigan’s ground game poses a challenge for Mississippi State’s defense. The Broncos enter the contest tied for 38th nationally at 184.4 yards per game. They rushed for three touchdowns for the third time this season in a 42-24 win over Ball State and gained 133 yards. MSU is 61st against the run, allowing just under 135 yards per game. The Bulldogs yielded a season-high 193 last week against No. 11 Alabama and have allowed at least 144 yards on the ground in their past three losses against SEC foes.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Western Michigan Jalen Buckley is the nation’s seventh-leading rusher with 557 yards and five TDs. The redshirt freshman has exceeded 190 yards twice, including season highs of 196 and two scores at Toledo two weeks ago. Buckley also broke a 75-yard run at Syracuse earlier this season.
Mississippi State linebacker Jett Johnson remains one of the nation’s top tacklers. He posted 14 stops for the third consecutive game and stands sixth nationally with 59 tackles. Johnson is the only SEC linebacker with 50-plus tackles.
FACTS & FIGURES
The Broncos face their first SEC team since losing 55-26 at Florida in September 1999. … Western Michigan resumes Mid-American Conference play on Oct. 14 against Miami (Ohio). … First-year coach Lance Taylor spent last season as Louisville’s offensive coordinator after working three years as Notre Dame’s running backs coach. … MSU quarterback Will Rogers is tied for fourth with Peyton Manning with 89 TDs and needs 10 to match Drew Lock for third. … The Bulldogs have been outscored by 1.8 points per game this season, WMU by 10.8.