Most people who are expecting the Bulldogs to get blown out of the water have not seen Mississippi State play very much. They look at the schedule and see games where we should have won by more and think that we really aren't that good. If you didn't know that, this must be the first time you have been on the Internet this week. I am also not saying that it isn't possible that Bama just runs right over us. They are more than capable of doing that, but just coming out and competing isn't going to be tough to swallow for this Dawg fan, and the reason is one guy: Tyler Russell
I know the schedule has been light, but I think this is the best team I have ever seen Mississippi State put on the field. The difference in this team and all the others is Tyler Russell. I can count on one hand the number of times he has made a bad decision when throwing the ball. That is such a foreign concept to us State fans. I have had people tell me not to get too excited about his season because the competition has been weak. I would normally agree with them, but QBs can make bad decisions against bad teams and not get hurt. Tyler isn't doing that. I don't like how long he holds on to the ball sometimes, but he always seems to make the right decision. Old habits die hard, but I have to remind myself not to hyperventilate every time he drops back to throw.
Also, make no mistake, if Russell has a great game today and leads the Dawgs to the huge upset, people will notice. Heisman voters, NFL Scouts, and all the talking heads. State fans always complain because we never get any respect from the national media, but there are very few programs that can win without an elite quarterback (I still don't know how LSU does it). A big game from Tyler today and he will be talked about as an elite quarterback. The jury is still out about just how good he is, and that's fair. Today, I think he starts to turn some heads.
Getting to this point hasn't been quite as easy as most fans thought it would be, but we're here now. State can win this game tonight, but we need Russell to be huge. Perkins is going to have a tough time finding space in the running game, so a lot of our offensive fire power is going to have to come from Russell (and we can't have another case of the dropsies WRs). My prediction: 20-17 State with Russell finding Green in the back of the end zone on a game ending drive!