Preview capsule: No. 1 Alabama at Mississippi State - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Preview capsule: No. 1 Alabama at Mississippi State

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AJ McCarron and No. 1 Alabama will travel to Starkville to take on Dak Prescott and Mississippi State, Saturday, November 16, 2013. (AP Photos/Dave Martin/Rainier Ehrhardt) AJ McCarron and No. 1 Alabama will travel to Starkville to take on Dak Prescott and Mississippi State, Saturday, November 16, 2013. (AP Photos/Dave Martin/Rainier Ehrhardt)

Matchup:  No. 1 Alabama (9-0, 6-0 SEC) at Mississippi State (4-5, 1-4)

Time:  6:45 p.m. (ESPN)

Line: Alabama by 26.

Last meeting:  Alabama 38, Mississippi State 7 (Tuscaloosa, Ala.)

Series record: Alabama leads 76-18-3

WHAT'S AT STAKE

Alabama continues to roll toward a chance at its fourth national title in five seasons. Coach Nick Saban's bunch hasn't been challenged much this season, winning the past seven games by at least three touchdowns. Mississippi State needs two victories over its last three games to earn bowl eligibility for a fourth straight season. Alabama has a five-game winning streak in the series.

KEY MATCHUP

Alabama's defense against Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott. The 6-foot-2, 230-pound Prescott has had a breakout season for the Bulldogs, ranking fifth in the league with 2,264 yards of total offense, including 1,542 passing and 722 rushing. But he suffered a shoulder injury in last week's game against Texas A&M and coach Dan Mullen hasn't said if he'll play against the Tide. If Prescott can't go, senior Tyler Russell will be under center. Russell has thrown for 468 yards, three touchdowns and an interception this season.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Alabama: RB T.J. Yeldon has quietly put together a very efficient season. He's got 862 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns while averaging 6.2 yards per carry.

Mississippi State: RB Josh Robinson has been the backup to LaDarius Perkins all season, but might see a larger role after a breakout game against Texas A&M. The sophomore had six carries for 73 yards and one touchdown against the Aggies.

FACTS & FIGURES

Alabama QB A.J. McCarron has thrown 123 straight pass attempts without an interception. That's his third string of 100-plus passes without an INT during his career. He set the school record with 291 pass attempts without a pick last season. ... Alabama's defense is giving up 10.6 points per game this season, including just 6.2 points per game over the past seven victories. ... Alabama LB C.J. Mosley leads the team with seven tackles for a loss. ... Mississippi State is trying to snap a 14-game losing streak to nationally-ranked opponents. ... Mississippi State is averaging 459.2 yards of total offense per game, which is on pace to easily break the school record of 422.0 yards set in 1982.

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