November 15, 2008

Bulldogs attempt a three-peat

While most Alabama fans really haven't considered Mississippi State to be a rivalry game in years past, this season may be different.

Not only does today's game have national championship implications for the Crimson Tide but two straight losses to MSU have left a sour taste among the Alabama faithful.

In fact, the Tide offense has failed to reach the end zone against State since 2004.

"We haven't beaten these guys for a while," said Alabama head coach Nick Saban. "We haven't scored a touchdown on them for a while and certainly didn't play very well against them last year. We certainly have a lot of respect for how they have played against us and how we need to play and improve as a team, so we can play well against them."

The Bulldogs will get another chance to knock off Alabama in front of a national audience on ESPN tonight at 6:45 p.m. CT.

"It's fun to be in the spotlight," said Mississippi State head coach Sylvester Croom. "You'd to be there because of your own record but the shadow of a No. 1 team spreads pretty widely. We are happy to be a part of this. We are preparing to be as good as we possibly can. It's nice to be able to play the best. This is what you dream about; you're playing the No. 1 team in the country in the national spotlight on Saturday night and everybody is going to be watching them and you can't watch them without watching us."

Croom has won the last two meetings against his alma mater with a 17-12 win last season and a 24-16 victory in Tuscaloosa in 2006. Alabama has won six of the last 10 meetings between the twin state opponents and holds a lopsided 71-18-3 overall series record.

The Bulldogs enter today's matchup with a 3-6 overall record and a 1-4 mark in the Southeastern Conference. MSU is averaging 295.9 total yards per game with 183.7 through the air and 112.2 on the ground and 16.1 points.

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