7-0 boys.. 7-0
Who's a-risin' and who's a-fallin' this week?
Another week and another win came Saturday as the Bulldogs disposed of their 15th consecutive non-conference opponent. 35 second half points were poured on as State focused on the job at hand as Bama is on the horizon. With such a big win, there weren't many down points in the second half. But there were plenty of things to work on as the biggest game of most of these players lives is coming up. Let's take a look at who upped their stock and who lost some money this week.
On the rise: Backup running backs: There seemed to be some guys in the backfield hanging their head coming into this game. Josh Robinson, who clearly hasn't lost any confidence, had a big week off the bench last week against Tennessee scoring a huge touchdown in the first quarter following a Big Orange touchdown. But once again, Nick Griffin and Derek Milton didn't do much to get noticed. This week they got a chance and they made the best of it. Griffin's only carry was a big one in the fourth quarter as he burst off left tackle, hit the sideline and turned on the jets before stepping out of bounds inside the five. It was a 44-yard break that should do the trick in boosting his confidence once again.
Milton, who emerged in the first game of the season, hasn't really been seen since. His confidence level has also been falling as of late, but he was able to get productive minutes late and made the best of them. He carried three times on his one drive for 38 yards. A 27-yard rumble got him inside the 10 and one play later, he was in the endzone for six.
These two had big runs at the most important time, as now more than ever they are needed. I wrote in the preseason that this had the potential to be one of the deepest running corp that we've ever seen. We've had two great running backs, but never have we had four guys that can pound the ball like each one of these can. The one thing that they all have to keep in mind, however, is that this is a team effort. For the three underclassmen, they must wait their turn behind LaDarius Perkins. This is Perkins backfield as it stands now, and the only way that the running game can be as destructive as it should is for all of them to be on the same page.
On the fall: Back-up offensive linemen: Well it's good that we are able to have ballgames like we did Saturday to get younger, less-experienced linemen playing time to get snaps. Damien Robinson struggled throughout the night and the right guard position continues to be less strong when Tobias Smith is out of the ball game. Granted both guys ended up doing pretty well, there were several moments in the game where youth showed and that is something that could be a concern if an injury happens. With that said, I don't think that this is a constant problem in the future. I think Malone and Robinson will both end up becoming very good linemen but for this week alone and for the sake of someone needing to fall in the stock watch, they are the scapegoats. I'm really excited about the future at O-line because Coach John Hevsey has built a ton of depth at these positions. All that is left is experience and that will come along.