No. 4 Alabama aims to rebound strongly at Mississippi State

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              Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (13) warms up before an NCAA football game against LSU, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Tuscaloosa , Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt))
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No. 4 Alabama (8-1, 4-1 SEC, No. 5 CFP) at Mississippi St. (4-5, 2-4), Saturday at 12 p.m. EST (ESPN).

Line: Alabama by 17 1/2.

Series record: Alabama leads 81-18-3.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

Alabama is trying to rebound from its first loss, 46-41 to No. 1 LSU, and keep its playoff hopes alive. Mississippi State is still trying to get bowl eligible after snapping a four-game losing streak against Arkansas two weeks ago.

KEY MATCHUP

Alabama’s defense against Mississippi State’s ground game. The Bulldogs’ running attack ranks third in the SEC, while Alabama is sixth against the run. Mississippi State is averaging 217 rushing yards per game, including 460 against Arkansas. That’s a school record for an SEC game. The Crimson Tide has a young front seven but still has only allowed six touchdowns on the ground.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Alabama: QB Tua Tagovailoa is once again “a game-time decision” with a high ankle sprain, though he played the entire way against LSU. If the Tide holds him out, Mac Jones would get his second start of the season.

Mississippi St.: RB Kylin Hill is the league’s leading rusher. He’s averaging 114.1 yards per game with nine rushing touchdowns and a 5.8-yard per carry average. Hill ran for 234 yards in the win over the Razorbacks.

FACTS & FIGURES

The Tide has won the last 11 meetings with Mississippi State. … Alabama coach Nick Saban has a 43-7 record in SEC road games with the Tide. Alabama has won 89 consecutive games against unranked teams. … The Bulldogs also set a school SEC mark with 640 total yards against Arkansas. … Mississippi State has returned two interceptions for touchdowns. Alabama has five non-offensive touchdowns, including Jaylen Waddle’s 77-yard punt return against LSU and two scores on blocked punts.