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Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. Missouri Tigers Preview and Prediction

Dak Prescott

Dak Prescott

The Mississippi State Bulldogs look to continue their three-game winning streak in a Thursday night matchup at Missouri. The Bulldogs have dominated opposing defenses in their last three victories, averaging 44 points per game.

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Missouri enters with a three-game losing streak. The Tigers haven't won a game since their 24-10 win against South Carolina on Oct. 3, nor scored a single touchdown. Missouri has been outscored 40-12 in its past three games.

Mississippi State at Missouri

Kickoff: 9 p.m. ET (Thursday)
Spread: Mississippi State -8

Three Things to Watch

1. Can Missouri get its offense going?

Quarterback Maty Mauk was suspended for the rest of the season earlier this week, just hours after apologizing to his teammates for a previous four-game suspension. Since then, freshman Drew Lock has taken over the Missouri offense and provided little success.

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Lock has thrown two touchdowns — both coming against South Carolina in his first start — and two interceptions since taking over for Mauk. He's also completed just 41.5 of his passes in his last three appearances.

Missouri's rushing attack hasn't fared much better. The Tigers are averaging 69 rushing yards in their last three games, including a 21-yard performance against Georgia on Oct. 17.

2. Dak Prescott having a career season
Prescott may be having the best season of his storied career, which is remarkable considering this time last season he was a Heisman contender. But Prescott has thrown for 2,048 yards, 14 touchdowns and just one interception while completing 65.8 percent of his passes.

He also leads the Bulldogs with 371 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on 72 attempts. However, Prescott faces a difficult challenge against a Missouri team that ranks first in passing defense and second in total defense among SEC teams.

3. Is Mississippi State a realistic contender?
Despite two losses, the Bulldogs are still in contention for an SEC West division title. Mississippi State has three games remaining against divisional opponents — Alabama, Arkansas and Ole Miss.

Although it seems unlikely, both Alabama and LSU could finish with two losses given their tough schedules to end the 2015 regular season. Can Mississippi State prove its legitimacy with a strong finish and rally for a division title?

Final Analysis

Thursday night's game is a battle between two programs on opposite ends of the spectrum. While Mississippi State is riding a wave of momentum, Missouri is suffering through trials and tribulations. The Tigers have had everything possible go wrong for them in 2015 and the downslide doesn't show any signs of stopping.

Mississippi State's offense will be too much for the Tigers to keep up with. The Bulldogs will win big to extend their winning streak to four games heading into a crucial matchup against Alabama next week.

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Prediction: Mississippi State 31, Missouri 3

— Written by Jason Hall, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and works for Fox Sports Florida. Follow him on Twitter @jasonhallFSN.