Preview: West Virginia - MSU

Mississippi State hasn't travelled this close to the Mason Dixon line since a trip to Syracuse, New York in 1986. That game resulted in a win for the Rockey Felker-led Bulldogs. With Felker now an assistant coach for MSU, will he find the Mountaineers as hospitiable?






BlueGoldNews.com Game Scorecard
Series: WVU 1-0-0
Sat 10/20/07 3:30 PM
Morgantown, W. Va.

Milan Puskar Stadium
Record: 5-1
USA/Coaches: 7th
Last Game
Syracuse W 55-14

Click for Morgantown, West Virginia Forecast
Record: 4-3
USA/Coaches: NR
Last Game
Tenn. L 21-33
Rosters/ Bios
Press Release
Season Stats
2007 Schedule
First Meeting: 2006
Last Meeting: 2006
Rosters/Bios
Press Release
Season Stats
2007 Schedule

Injuries:

WVU: Patrick White (Shoulder) Probable, James Ingram (Back) Out

MSU: Charles Burns (Shoulder) Out, Josh Riddell (Knee) Out, Eric Richards (Foot) Out, Chris Nance (Hamstring) Probable, Justin Williams (Foot) Probable

Game Outlook:

WVU offense vs. MSU defense

The Bulldog defense is lead by middle linebacker Jamar Chaney (6-1, 236). The junior leads the team with 50 tackles, has 2.5 tackles for loss and has recorded three quarterback hurries.

Teaming with Chaney at linebacker will be Gabe O'Neal (6-1, 220) and Dominic Douglas (6-2, 227). O'Neal and Douglas are tied for second on the team with 45 stops each, while combining for eight tackles for loss. The trio has been very active this year, and pursues well all over the field.

The most dominant player on the defensive line has been Titus Brown (6-3, 250). Brown leads the team with six quarterback sacks, 11 quarterback hurries and is looking for All-SEC honors in his senior season.

BlueGoldNews.com
Game Info
WVU 5-1, 1-1
MSU 4-3, 1-3
Sat 10/20/07 3:30 PM
Milan Puskar Stadium
Series: WVU 1-0-0
TV: ESPN Plus
John Sanders (play-by-play),
Rene Nadeau (analyst),
BCS: WVU 9 - MSU NR
Line: WVU -23
Rounding out the defensive front will be Kyle Love (6-1, 320), Jessie Bowman (6-1, 305), and Avery Hannibal (6-1, 240). The trio has combined for 27 tackles on the season.

The defensive backfield for Mississippi State have been solid through the first half of the year. Anthony Johnson (5-10, 194) leads the backfield in tackles with 40 and interceptions with two, while Derek Pegues (5-10, 196) has snagged two picks of his own to go along with 28 tackles. De'Mon Glanton (6-1, 190) and Jasper O'Quinn (5-10, 185) complete the starting secondary foursome, with Glanton, one of the most active players on defense, being the only Bulldog to record at least one sack, one interception and at least one quarterback hurry (he has six).

By The Numbers:
WVU is ranked ninth in total offense (503.83 yds/game), second in rushing offense (311.17 yds/game) and 91st in passing offense (192.67 yds/game)

MSU is ranked 42nd in total defense (343.86 yds/game), 50th in rushing defense (142.00 yds/game) and 34th in passing defense (201.86 yds/game).

Advantage: WVU

WVU defense vs. MSU offense

The Mississippi State offense has seend three different quarterbacks take snaps this year, mostly due to injury. Senior Mike Henig (6-1, 195) started the first three games before suffering a broken hand against Auburn, but will be available for action on Saturday. After the injury to Henig the signal calling duties were split between freshman Wesley Carroll (6-1, 190) and junior Josh Riddell (6-1, 195). This changed when Riddell suffered a season ending knee injury, handing the reins to the young Carroll.

On the season Carroll has completed 54.1% of his passes (40-74) for 381 yards and two touchdowns.

Lining up behind Carroll will be a pair of bruising running backs. Anthony Dixon (6-1, 240) starts at halfback and leads the team in rushing with 694 yards and an impressive 10 touchdowns. The sophomore averages 4.2 yards per carry. Teaming with Dixon will be fullback Eric Hoskins (5-11, 230). The junior makes his third start of the season but has yet to record a rushing attempt.

Carroll's downfield targets will be Tony Burks (6-4, 217), Jamayel Smith (6-0, 183) and Lance Long (5-11, 186). The trio has combined for 41 receptions, 553 yards and three touchdowns.

Look for tight end Eric Butler (6-3, 255) to get a few looks in the passing game. The senior has six receptions for an average of 7.1 yards.

The Bulldog offensive line has been average this season, allowing 11 sacks and plowing the way for 157.57 rushing yards per game. It looks as though the unit is beggining to gel as all five have started all seven games this season.

By The Numbers :
WVU is ranked fifth in total defense (261.50 yds/game), 17th in rushing defense (96.83 yds/game) and ninth in passing defense (164.67 yds/game).

MSU is ranked 110th in total offense (301.29 yds/game), 59th in rushing offense (157.57 yds/game) and 115th in passing offense (143.71 yds/game).

Advantage: WVU

WVU special teams vs. MSU special teams

Much like the West Virginia, the Mississippi State special teams have been up and down this year.

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The Bulldog kicking team has stuggled, as have the return teams, with the punt and kick return teams ranked lower than 100th in the nation.

Returning kicks and punts for the Bulldogs will be Derek Pegues. Pegues has 12 punt returns for 70 yards (an average of 5.8 yards) and 11 kickoff returns for 228 yards (an average of 20.7 yards).

Handling the place kicking duties will be Adam Carlson (6-4, 195). Carlson, a Mississippi native, has connected on five of eight field goal attempts with a long of 39 yards. The junior has also kicked off 33 times this season but has yet to record a touchback.

Starting at punter for the 31st straight game will be Blake McAdams (5-10, 190). McAdams has averaged 41.1 yards on 34 attempts with a long of 73 yards. The junior has downed nine punts inside the 20-yard line

By The Numbers :
WVU is ranked 90th in net punting (32.89 yds/punt), 75th in kick returns (20.57 yds/return) and 40th in punt returns (11.00 yds/return).

MSU is ranked 65th in net punting (34.42 yds/punt), 112th in kick returns (18.06 yds/return) and 104th in punt returns (5.69 yds/return)

Advantage: WVU

Picks to Click:

On Offense: Steve Slaton

On Defense: Antonio Lewis

Prediction:

The Mountaineers are looking to go undefeated in their out-of-conference schedule for the second year in a row, while the Bulldogs are looking for a signature win for MSU head coach Sylvester Croom.

The Bulldogs are probably the second best team that the Blue and Gold has faced, but it's a home game that will finish under the lights. Sorry Sylvester, you have no chance.

WVU - 31 MSU - 17


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