November 12, 2013 9:48:25 AM
Matthew Stevens - [email protected]
STARKVILLE -- The Mississippi State football team's depth chart has senior Tyler Russell as the starting quarterback for the team's game at 6:45 p.m. (ESPN) Saturday against No. 1 Alabama.
MSU coach Dan Mullen said Monday sophomore quarterback Dak Prescott is "questionable" to play after suffering a pinched nerve in his left arm. Mullen said Prescott won't be re-evaluated for practice this week.
"Part of it is going to be the irritation level for him in a nerve deal with the stinger," Mullen said.
With less than two minutes remaining in MSU's 51-41 loss to Texas A&M on Saturday, Prescott took a solid shot from defensive back Tony Hurd Jr. He held his left arm as he took himself out of the game. The drive ended with a touchdown pitch-and-catch from Russell to De'Runnya Wilson. Prescott was seen holding his non-throwing arm as he left the stadium.
Prescott had 303 yards Saturday days after burying his mother in his hometown of Haughton, La. He had two touchdown passes to give him 19 for the season, which ties him with Vick Ballard's 2010 mark for the fourth most on the program's single-season record list.
Prescott's mother, Peggy, lost her long battle with colon cancer last Sunday morning.
Alabama (9-0, 6-0 Southeastern Conference) is a 25.5-point road favorite for Saturday's game at Davis Wade Stadium.
"I think Mississippi State probably has a very, very good team to have five losses to teams that are all rated in the top 20, and playing very competitively in every one of those games, so you have to look past the record," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "This is a very good team offensively. They can run the ball. They keep the ball. Their time of possession is good."
This is the most points MSU (4-5, 1-4) has been an underdog in Mullen's five-year tenure at the school.
"Any time you have the opportunity to play the No. 1 team in the country, that's huge," Mullen said. "They've got five-star players as backups and sitting on the bench not getting tons of reps."
Skinner questionable with stinger injury suffered in practice last week
MSU announced less than a hour before kickoff against Texas A&M that senior linebacker Deontae Skinner would miss the game with a pinched nerve that affected his spine. Mullen said a determination about Skinner's status was made Wednesday.
"We love Deontae and wish he would've been out there, but I think we should've rallied around him today since he couldn't play with a injury," MSU junior linebacker Matthew Wells said.
Mullen didn't mention Skinner on Monday when he gave the injury report. Skinner leads the team with 50 tackles. Two weeks ago, he had five tackles in a 34-16 loss at No. 12 South Carolina. Skinner also has 3.5 tackles for loss, one sack, and an interception.
"Deontae got a stinger and they saw some swelling in his spine and didn't discover it until mid-week," Mullen said. "Christian Holmes had to go back to linebacker with (Fernando) Bohanna already being out of the season. Deontae has a MRI scan later (Monday), so we should know more today, and if he's not cleared today, then we should know in the middle of this week his status."
Sophomore safety Arrington out for the season
Mullen added to the injury report, saying sophomore safety Dee Arrington is out for the remainder of the season with an unknown injury.
MSU had been relying on Arrington at safety, but the former four-star recruit hadn't played in more than a month with an injury he reportedly suffered in practice before the 59-26 loss to LSU. Arrington had taken over Jay Hughes' strong safety spot and had been a solid blitzer from the perimeter. He has a quarterback hurry and a tackle for loss this season.
Arrington's injury didn't allow him to take linebacker reps for Skinner when MSU went to a nickel or dime package against Texas A&M.
With Arrington's injury, Kendrick Market has helped anchor the safety positions with senior Nickoe Whitley at free safety.
Follow Matt Stevens on Twitter @matthewcstevens.