Mississippi St. vs


at Nashville
Mon, Dec 30
1:00 PM Pacific
Rotation: 289
Odds: Louisville +5.5, Total: 63

Game Analysis

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Best Bet – *Louisville (+5.5) 33   Mississippi State  30

I’m reading a lot about how Mississippi State is going to run all over Louisville’s soft defensive front. That’s probably true, as I project 286 rushing yards at 6.6 yards per rushing play for the Bulldogs in this game. However, Louisville quarterback Micale Cunningham is finally healthy after playing the regular season dealing with minor injuries and Cunningham and his group of big play receivers (the top 3 all average 18.0 yards per catch or more) should have an easy time getting open deep against a Mississippi State secondary that’s allowed 14.0 yards per reception and is without their best cornerback (Cameron Dantzler is sitting out to prepare for the NFL combine) and their starting safety (C.J. Morgan), who rank first and second on the team in passes defended despite each missing 3 games. Miss State allowed 8.0 yards per pass play this season (to quarterbacks that would average 7.0 yppp against an average defense) and the Bulldogs were 1.4 yppp worse than averaged in the 3 games that Dantzler missed (although I only adjusted 0.2 yppp). Cunningham averaged 9.1 yards per pass play in his 10 starts (against teams that would allow just 6.1 yppp to an average QB) and he should average over 10 yppp against a Miss State secondary that is likely to get beaten deep even more than usual without their two best defensive backs. Louisville will still probably run the ball 60% of the time and Javian Hawkins (1420 yards at 5.9 ypr) should be pretty good success against a Bulldogs’ defensive front that was just 0.2 yards per rushing play better than average. The math projects 195 rushing yards at 5.6 yprp and 432 total yards at 7.5 yards per play for the Cardinals in this game.

I’ve already established that Mississippi State will have success running the ball, but they won’t have as much success with Tommy Stevens at quarterback instead of Garrett Shrader, who suffered an eye injury during an altercation in practice. Shrader ran for 629 yards at 7.1 yards per run against FBS opposition and Stevens isn’t quite that good running the ball (5.8 yprp against FBS teams). Stevens was also worse throwing the football, averaging only 5.9 yards on 147 pass play against teams that would allow 6.4 yppp to an average quarterback (Shrader is 0.2 yppp better than average). Louisville struggles to defend the run and the Cardinals are 0.3 yppp worse than average defending the pass and Stevens and company are projected to average 6.6 yards per run and 6.6 per pass for a total of 425 yards.

Louisville has a slight edge in projected total yards and a 7.5 to 6.6 yards per play advantage and overall the math favors the Cardinals by 2.8 points with Cunningham at quarterback (he’s 1.0 yppp better than the team’s pass rating). I’ll take Louisville in a 1-Star Best Bet at +3.5 points or more (Strong Opinion at +3).

  • Team Stats
  • Game Log
  • Mississippi St.
  • Louisville


  • Run Plays 37.9 29.6
  • Run Yards 213.3 116.2
  • YPRP 6.0 4.6


  • Pass Comp 12.6 17.7
  • Pass Att 23.1 30.4
  • Comp % 54.6% 58.3%
  • Pass Yards 151.4 206.5
  • Sacks 2.3 2.4
  • Sack Yards 14.9 19.0
  • Sack % 9.0% 7.3%
  • Pass Plays 25.4 32.8
  • Net Pass Yards 136.5 187.5
  • YPPP 5.4 5.7


  • Total Plays 63.2 62.4
  • Total Yards 364.7 322.7
  • YPPL 5.8 5.2


  • Int 0.8 0.8
  • Int % 3.6% 2.7%
  • Fumbles 0.6 0.9
  • Turnovers 1.4 1.8
  • Points 27.6 28.1
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