I know it was only Memphis, but there were plenty of reasons for Bulldog fans to smile after a 49-7 victory over the Tigers. Excluding the fact that the first pass thrown by Chris Relf was intercepted, the night seemed to go exactly the way Dan Mullen planned it. Relf showed just how much he's matured by shaking the mistake off and leading the team straight down the field on the following drive. Furthermore, he has clearly improved as a passer completing 7 out of 9 passes for 116 yards and one touchdown. Freshman Tyler Russell was undoubtedly the most pleasant surprise of the game. Russell tied the MSU record with 4 touchdown passes in his debut game. The most impressive thing about Russell was his accuracy. Pass after pass was thrown nearly perfect and right on target. He completed 13 out of 16 passes for 256 yards. If Saturday nights game was any indication, Mullen's two quarterback system will be exciting to watch this year.
The rest of the offense looked good as well. Brandon Heavens and Chad Bumphis had two touchdowns each.
One thing that had a lot of Bulldog fans worried was the departure of Anthony Dixon. The performances on the ground by Robert Elliott, Vick Ballard and LaDarius Perkins showed promise and it will be interesting to see which one of these guys fills the void Dixon left the most.
The defense looked good as usual and I was most impressed with how Chris White stepped it up now that Jamar Chaney is gone.
This was a great first weekend for multiple reasons (Thanks Ole Miss) and hopefully it's a great sign of things to come.
Now, the real work begins. Next up is Auburn and the Bulldogs will get their first real test. Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton looked impressive (particularly on the ground) in his Tiger debut against Arkansas State. However, the Auburn defense allowed over 300 yards passing. This is a weakness I'm sure Mullen and the coaching staff will do their best to exploit.
Let's all keep our fingers and toes crossed and keep the faith. Maybe, just maybe, we'll pass our first real test on Thursday night. The setting in Starkville will no doubt be electric.