- Associated Press - Friday, August 29, 2014

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) - When Mississippi State and Southern Mississippi agreed to a home-and-home football series five years ago, it was hailed as an intriguing matchup between two fairly even programs.

Things have changed drastically.

Now the Bulldogs are a perennial postseason team while the Golden Eagles have fallen off a cliff, losing 23 of their past 24 games over the previous two seasons. Mississippi State will be more than a four-touchdown favorite when it hosts Southern Miss on Saturday at newly renovated Davis Wade Stadium.

Mississippi State’s expectations are high after finishing 7-6 last season. Junior quarterback Dak Prescott returns after a stellar first season as the starter.

Southern Miss - which is led by second-year coach Todd Monken - hopes to build off of a season-ending victory over UAB in 2013.