Kickoff for the Southeastern Conference matchup is set for 8 p.m. CT, with a national television broadcast on ESPN 2. Fans not able to catch the action on television can listen to Jim Ellis, Matt Wyatt and John Correro call the game on the Mississippi State Radio Network and via Sirius Radio (Channel 128) and XM Radio (Channel 197).
Saturday will feature a battle between a lockdown defense and a high-powered offense, both gaining national attention this season. MSU will trot out their stout defense, led by a shutdown secondary, with the test of shutting down the Volunteers' explosive receivers.
For the Bulldogs, All-American Johnthan Banks and Darius Slay ("Precinct 913") will captain the Bulldogs' defense Saturday night. The two have combined for seven interceptions, blazing the trail for the MSU defense that is tied fourth nationally with 15 forced turnovers and ranks second nationally with a +11 turnover margin. As well as being dominant in the turnover game, the Bulldogs have done the same in their passing defense, allowing an average of less than 200 yards-per-game and ranking 12th nationally in pass efficiency defense, which will be tested against Tennessee's passing attack.
Senior quarterback Tyler Bray, along with junior receivers Justin Hunter and Cordell Patterson, will hope ride the success of their passing attack this weekend against the Bulldogs' secondary. Bray, whose 316.4 passing yards per game average ranks second in the SEC, will lean on his duo of Hunter and Patterson (combined six receiving touchdowns) to outwork the Mississippi State secondary and find the end zone multiple times Saturday.
2008 in Knoxville, Tenn., was the scene of the last meeting between the Bulldogs and the Volunteers. On that October day, the Volunteers ran the table against the Maroon and White with a 34-3. The Bulldogs did hold Tennessee to a slim 6-3 halftime lead, but the Volunteers came out firing in the second half to blow the game open. Four unanswered touchdowns, highlighted by two interception returns for scores in the fourth, separated the Volunteers and the Bulldogs for good.
After Saturday's SEC battle, MSU will remain home for their homecoming matchup against Middle Tennessee State. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. CT and broadcast is set for either ESPN 2, ESPNU or Fox Sports Net, with the Mississippi State Radio Network also covering.
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