Mississippi State feels confident about its ability to beat Southern Mississippi for a second straight season.

That's not surprising. After all, the Bulldogs crushed the Golden Eagles 49-0 in 2014.

But this matchup has an added degree of difficulty.

Southern Miss gets to host a Southeastern Conference opponent for the first time since 1989 when the Bulldogs come to town on Saturday. Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott — who enters the season as one of the leading Heisman Trophy candidates — expects a rowdy atmosphere that must be respected and neutralized quickly.

Southern Miss enters the game a three-touchdown underdog after a 4-32 record over the past three seasons. Third-year coach Todd Monken led the Golden Eagles to a 3-9 record last season after a 1-11 mark in 2013.


Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.