Jackson State at Mississippi State 

Kickoff: Saturday, 7 p.m. ET (FSN, ESPN3)

Spread: No line

Watchability: Mississippi State is supposed to field a more dangerous downfield attack under QB Tyler Russell. Here's the first chance to see that new offense.

Shining stars: Mississippi State: QB Tyler Russell. Coach Dan Mullens says he expects Russell, the former Mr. Football for Mississippi, to have a huge year. “He’s played in almost every stadium in the league, so the stage won’t be too big.” Russell will throw to a veteran group of wideouts led by seniors Arceto Clark, Chad Bumphis and Chris Smith. Jackson State: WR/TE E.J. Drewery. The 6-foot-6, 236-pounder is a difficult matchup who averaged 13.6 yards per catch last season. Formerly at SMU, Drewery was the only Tiger to make the first-team All-SWAC offense.

Who could steal the show: Mississippi State: CB Johnthan Banks. The SEC’s top cover corner, Banks has 12 career interceptions, four shy of the school record set by Walt Harris. The senior would have been a high NFL draft pick had he left school. Jackson State: DE Joseph LeBeau. The 6-1, 245-pound senior is the SWAC preseason Defensive Player of the Year after getting 16 sacks and 24.5 tackles for loss last year. He made 75 tackles.

You going? Ranking the road trip: Make sure you pick up a cowbell in Starkville. Fans ring the cowbells before the game, at halftime, between quarters, in timeouts and after scoring plays. The passionate fans at Davis Wade Stadium will be stoked for the opener because they believe the Bulldogs could have a special season.

Magic number for Mississippi State: 19.7. That’s how many points the Bulldogs allowed per game last year, which ranked 16th nationally.

Magic number for Jackson State: 8. The Tigers have played eight games against FBS opponents, losing all eight.

The game comes down to: It’s a mere tuneup for Mississippi State, but it’s an opportunity for Russell to establish himself and for RB LaDarius Perkins (5.2 ypc last year) to show he can replace Vick Ballard, now in the NFL.

Prediction: Mississippi State 41, Jackson State 10

For more up-to-the minute news and analysis from SEC bloggers Larry Hartstein and Daniel Lewis, follow @CBSSportsSEC.