Auburn plays its first game since firing Coach Bryan Harsin on Saturday as the Tigers visit fellow unranked Mississippi State in SEC action.
Which way to lean at BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks?
Auburn Tigers vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs
Saturday, November 5, 2022 – 07:30 PM EDT at Davis Wade Stadium
ESPN2 has this West Division matchup that really has no bearing nationally. Mississippi State is trying to get bowl eligible, while Auburn probably just wants this disastrous season over so it can find a new coach and start over in the offseason. More on that below.
Last year, Auburn lost at home to Mississippi State, 43-34. Down 28-3 in the second quarter, MSU came roaring back with 40 unanswered points in the biggest come-from-behind victory in school history.
Will Rogers (still there) threw for 415 yards and a school-record 6 touchdowns. Auburn’s QB then was Bo Nix, now at Oregon, and he threw for 377 yards and two scores. Tank Bigsby rushed for 2 touchdowns.
Auburn leads all-time 65-28-2 (.695) and is 14-7-1 in games played at Starkville. Here’s a random if useless statistic I wanted to share regardless: The Tigers are 14-1-1 in games played on Nov. 5 all-time and 7-0 vs. SEC teams.
Cadillac Williams Running Show
The fans and boosters at Auburn simply have unreasonable expectations every year thinking their program should be as good as Alabama’s, but that’s just not close to the case. Coach Bryan Harsin was nearly fired this offseason as the school dug up dirt on him.
Harsin made it through, but was canned following a 41-27 home loss last Saturday against Arkansas, the Tigers’ fourth straight defeat. At 3-5, they are most likely going to miss a bowl game for the first time since 2012. Harsin gets $15.5 million in buyout money.
Running backs coach Carnell "Cadillac" Williams will serve as Auburn's interim coach the rest of the season, and he was an All-American tailback at the school before being selected at No. 5 overall by Tampa Bay in the 2005 NFL draft.
BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review) has a prop on Auburn’s next coach and the favorites are:
- Baylor offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes (+100)
- A former offensive line coach at Auburn, Liberty and former Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze (+250)
- Current Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin (+275)
- Jackson State coach and Hall of Famer Deion Sanders (+700)
Auburn has rushed for 484 yards in the last two games against Ole Miss and Arkansas, the most for the Tigers in a two-game SEC span since 2017.
Junior Tank Bigsby has racked up 242 yards on the ground in those games. Robby Ashford ranks third among all-time Auburn freshman passers with 1,299 passing yards and also has rushed for 380 yards.
The offense really hasn’t been the problem of late, the defense has in allowing at least 40 points in three straight games and four times overall this year.
Yet offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau was also fired and defensive coordinator Jeff Schmedding still has a job (four more games, anyway).
Auburn is 2-7 ATS in its past nine on the NCAAF picks and 1-4 ATS in its past five after a loss.
Rogers Among SEC’s Top QBs
Could Mike Leach leave Mississippi State for Auburn? I highly doubt it, and he’s a +2500 longer shot to take the job via BetOnline. Auburn did just hire Mississippi State AD John Cohen to the same position.
For the most part, the Bulldogs have won the games they were supposed to this year and lost the ones they were expected to. They enter off a bye week and were throttled 30-6 at Alabama on Oct. 22.
Quarterback Will Rogers wasn’t great that game, but is having a good season overall, completing 67.9 percent of his passes for 2,555 yards, 23 TDs, and four picks.
Rogers has tied Dak Prescott's (2012-15) MSU career record with 70 passing touchdowns and needs 106 yards to match Prescott's career passing yards record (9,376). The team is 0-3 this year when it doesn’t hit 300 yards passing and 5-0 when it does.
MSU leads the nation in red zone touchdown percentage (87.50 percent), red zone passing touchdown percentage (58.33 percent), and points per red zone drive (5.38). It’s just a matter of getting to the red zone that can be a problem at times. The Bulldogs are outscoring opponents 66-14 in the first quarter and are 12-4 when scoring first under Leach.
Defensively, Mississippi State leads the SEC with 9 interceptions and is fifth in the league with 37 passes defended. Cornerback Emmanuel Forbes is one of 12 semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award given to the nation's best defensive back. He leads the SEC with five interceptions and 11 total passes defended.
Frankly this pick is less about Mississippi State than Auburn in turmoil and interim coach Cadillac Williams only having three days to make a game plan. The Bulldogs win by at least two TDs. They are 3-0-1 ATS in their past four at home.
NCAAF Pick: Mississippi State -12.5 (-110) at BetOnline
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.