Mississippi State tries to stop the bleeding this week with a non-conference game against Middle Tennessee State on Saturday in Starkville.

The Bulldogs (2-5) squandered their momentum from a tense 17-14 victory over then-No. 13 Vanderbilt on Saturday, getting blown out of the second half in a 34-3 loss to Tennessee at 102,000-seat Neyland Stadium.

MSU quarterback Tyson Lee had two second-half interceptions returned for UT touchdowns in that game.

“Tyson’s throws were a little bit off. He wasn’t as sharp as he normally is,” MSU coach Sylvester Croom said. “Some of it had to do with his drops (in the pocket). I don’t think there’s any question his (knee) injury had an affect on him. I could see some things in his delivery.

“He didn’t step through the throw like he normally would.”

Middle Tennessee State (2-5) is coming off a 42-23 loss to Louisville but has already beaten Maryland and Florida Atlantic this season. The Blue Raiders are 11½-point underdogs for Saturday’s game.

“They’re not intimidated by anybody,” Croom said.

Croom said the Bulldogs were done in by poor tackling against Tennessee, which has struggled to run the ball this season but collected 139 yards rushing against State.

“It is frustrating to all of us,” Croom said. “We thought we had an excellent game plan. We didn’t take advantage of some things early in the game.”