Game Essentials: MSU vs. Alcorn St.-- Game Time: 2:30
-- Channel: CSS
-- Location: Starkville, Ms
-- All Time: MSU 1, Alcorn 0
-- Last: '10 - MSU 49, Alcorn 16
It's time for week two of The Big Preview -- as we take a look at a familiarly unfamiliar opponent, Alcorn State. Although many of us know well who the Braves are, we have only played them on the gridiron one time in school history. The Braves come in under second year head coach Jay Hopson, who took over in Lorman in May 2012 and last fall had an improved but still rough 4-7 season. Hopson will look to get the 2013 campaign off to a solid 2-0 start, but that could prove a difficult task, as a raucous Mississippi State crowd will be amped for the first game at home for the 2013 season, and anxiously waiting to see the Bulldog offense break out.
In this week's The Big Preview, we take a good, hard look at the 1-0 Braves through the lens of our Totally Serious Opponent Report, our traditional game preview, as well as a segment we call The Numbers Game, which breaks down the key numbers for MSU in this weekend's contest. We'll also provide some recommendations for those of you traveling to Starkville this weekend on where to eat. It's all in here, so come read! It's The Big Preview - MSU vs. Alcorn State
Click any of the four links below to scroll directly to the section that you're looking for (each section also features a button at the end to take you back to the top of the page):
Totally Serious Opponent Report by robnoladog
Game Preview -- Mississippi State vs. Alcorn State by JLgrindin
T Braden's Gameday Domination - Anthony's by tbradenbishop
The Numbers Game by Metal Building Dawg
"There’s just such an excited feel on campus when you get to play that first game. You get out there in the Junction, all the tents are up, all that stuff. You can feel that excitement. In my Friday routine I usually try to go for a jog around campus on Friday and feel that energy and excitement on campus."
- Dan Mullen on playing Alcorn State.
I must have completely missed that Auburn or LSU is coming to town this week. Maybe Dan Mullen thinks the line out the door at Pita Pit is full of hungry Bama fans in town early for the game? Or maybe last week's game was a scrimmage and the real season opener versus Oklahoma State is going down in Starkville this Saturday? Nope. I checked the schedule again. We're playing the Braves. No, not the first-place Braves from the National League. The Braves of Alcorn State University.
That excitement on campus you feel, Dan? I'm pretty sure it's dollar night somewhere in town and unlike the Bulldog offense last week, someone is going to score.
I have a hard time poking fun at the Braves. You see they actually found their way into the end zone in their season opener last week. Even if it was against some guy named Edward Waters and they played 11-on-1 in a backyard, Alcorn still put up 60 more points on the scoreboard than MSU. Last week while Mississippi State was stalling on drives in OSU territory, Alcorn State was doing football things like catching touchdowns and breaking off big runs on a weak defense. I could go on, but I've digressed enough.
FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE ALCORN ST. GAME
5. LEON BERRY, LEON BERRY. The only other time we have played the Braves MSU wide receiver Leon Berry was doing really fast stuff.
4. SWAMP ATTACK. It should be around 90 degrees with a 150% chance of swamp-ass1 at game time, which is perfect considering the athletic department is asking everyone to wear maroon... O_O My advice: sneak into the club level or a suite. Stay cool = stay dry.
3. RIP AIR MCNAIR. The late and great Steve McNair starred for Alcorn State from 1991-94. He accounted for 5,799 yards and 53 touchdowns and finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1994. He also set and still holds more FCS records than I can count.
2. BAND BATTLE. This is the second meeting ever between MSU and Alcorn State in football. Which means Alcorn State will be 2-0 in band halftime shows vs MSU all-time.
1. YOUNG GUNS. It's hard to get excited about this game, but hopefully we'll put up 50+ points, win comfortably, and see some freshmen like DeRunnya Wilson and Chis Jones have huge games.
The Alcorn State Braves roll into Starkville, Mississippi this weekend to face MSU, meaning this week’s game will be more about what MSU does rather than what Alcorn State does.
I could tell you that Alcorn State just won their second consecutive home opener and that it was first time since 2003-2004 that they had done that. I could tell you they scored 63 points in that opener and they allowed just 12. I could tell you they rushed for 280 yards and they even threw for 184 and they totaled 464 yards of offense. Then I could tell you they played a team named Edward Waters College.
So, while I’m not trying to offend any Alcorn fans who might be coming across this blog, this game is more about the things that MSU will and won’t do. If after the game the story is about the game Alcorn State played, then that would mean really bad news for MSU.
That being said, this is game that MSU can use to get a few players healthy. It's a nice buffer game between a challenging non-conference opener and the SEC opener against Auburn on September 14th. This could be a game that MSU looks back on as a game that provided beneficial game reps for Dak Prescott along with a number of young receivers, defensive backs as well as defensive linemen.
While it is expected that the offense return to form in this game against a defense that is no where near the level of defense MSU is accustomed to facing, there still are some things to watch in this game on the offensive side of the ball. I think it will be key to watch how the offense looks with Dak Prescott starting and taking the majority of the reps on Saturday. How does offense flow with Dak -- the more run-style, option offense quarterback? How fast can the pace be? How do the players respond to him? Will the injury to RG Justin Malone present a problem for the run game or pass protection? It will also be key to watch the development of young wideouts, like newcomers De’Runnya Wilson and Fred Ross: two guys who will need to contribute this season. It will also be interesting to see if Jameon Lewis can step up and be the star of this receiver corps.
On the defensive side of the ball, State fans will be watching to see if a defensive end besides Denico Autry can step and help improve the pass rush. Which young guys step up on the interior of the defensive line? In the secondary, Jamerson Love is questionable at best to play (with it being Alcorn, he most likely wont) and Jay Hughes is lost for the season. Will Kendrick Market be able to give MSU enough to help replace Hughes? Can the young corners build on last week's performance? These are some of the things that I will be looking for this week.
Like I said, this week is less about what Alcorn State does and more about how MSU looks, and not just on the scoreboard. That being said, there are two things MSU must do this week if they can help it.
- MSU must find some sort of groove or rhythm on offense. Whether it be by adding tempo or changing up the play calling.
- They also must find a way to stay healthy. They cannot afford to have anymore serious injuries in some spots or depth might begin to disappear.
Mississippi State Injury Report
Tyler Russell (Head), Ferlando Bohanna (Head), Justin Malone (Leg)
Jamerson Love (Ankle)
Out for Season
Jay Hughes (ACL)
Location: 116 West Main Street, West Point, MS (662.494.0316)
Specialty: An evening of fine cajun, Delta-style fillings.
Facebook: Like them. Lots of great updated info there.
THE LOW-DOWN: We realize this place is a little off the beaten path of Starkville but it's so worth it if you're looking for a one-of-a-kinda food experience. Anthony's boasts having some of the absolute best steaks, fresh seafood, and pastas in the Golden Triangle area. Domestic and premium beers are also some of their specialties. If you're going on the weekend, we highly recommend you make reservations. If you go during the week, do knows their hours are from 5-9:30 p.m. on Tuesday-Thursday and 5-10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday (closed Sunday and Monday). Be aware of their music schedule during the week, too.
Anthony's has been around since the late 1930s. Here's a detailed history according to their website:
Located on historic Murff Row in downtown West Point where Bryan Foods had its start. Anthony's restaurant is a name synonymous with fine food for over fifty years. No one could have predicted that the humble market founded in 1936 as the Anthony and Wilson Grocery would grow to become a world-class restaurant that still proudly bears the name Anthony's.
Mrs. Anthony created the cafe' in 1954 when she began serving breakfast and lunch from the back of her husband's store. In 1978, two sisters, Anna Belle Orr and Jane Golson, took Anthony's to new heights with their famous home-made sausage biscuits and delicious plate lunches.
Leo Magee purchased the restaurant in 1994 and turned to his Delta roots by showcasing blues musicians once a month in a venue called "Once in a Blues Moon Night." Carter Fraley became the chef and owner in 1997. He expanded the restaurant and added a New Orleans flair to the menu.
Ray and Carrie Hamilton purchased the restaurant in 2009 after working for many years with the Fraley family. They are delighted by the history & charm of West Point and enjoy serving the great people who live in and pass through this area. They once again expanded the restaurant and menu and brought live music back every Wednesday night in what is now known as the "Mid Week Mojo". Carrie is a native of Columbus, MS & a MUW grad with a deep appreciation for music, "the blues" in particular. Ray is a third generation restaurateur from the Mississippi Gulf Coast who brings an extensive knowledge, experience, and love of coastal cuisine.
Anthony's has become the place for friends from the surrounding area to meet and relax while enjoying some of the best food in the South. Always popular with students from MSU and the W, Anthony's has accommodated students and their families from all parts of the world. Families and businesses in the Golden Triangle area have made it a tradition to treat their visiting friends and clients to a night at Anthony's.
We take pride in treating every customer as a friend and constantly strive to provide an enjoyable & memorable dining experience.
As far as appetizers, we recommend the fried dill pickles, panko crusted fried cheese bites, and Anthony's famous friend mushrooms. You definitely can't go wrong with the chips and rotel, spinach and artichoke dip, or the BBQ style crawfish tails.
The entrees are what put this place on the Mississippi map. The chicken Anthony is a fried 8oz chicken breast topped with homemade mushroom and onion cream sauce. It's one of the most popular dishes. The 14oz New York Strip is one of the best Buckhead beef center cuts around. It's grilled to your preference and finished with a bayou butter and green onions. If you love shrimp we suggest the shrimp and grits. You'll love the shrimp, mushrooms, bell peppers, and bacon in a creamy shrimp stock over cheddar cheese grits with grilled asparagus. If you're down for catfish you definitely should try the bayou grilled catfish. It's a grilled 9oz Mississippi-raised fiet with bayou butter and green onions. The blackened grilled Atlantic salmon filet is an excellent alternative to catfish. All entrees come with a salad and choice of side (baked potato, garlic mashed potatoes, or french fries) except for pastas. Read the entire menu here.
Finish your meal with some amazing desserts. The white chocolate bread pudding with bourbon caramel topping features or Slap Yo Mama brownie a la mode are heavenly.
As always... Eat, Ring, and Be Merry.
Key to victory for Mississippi State: go into halftime with a lead.
Why? Because we are terrible at making adjustments.
Coming out flat in the 2nd half seems to be a new tradition for Mississippi State football. I'm not sure what the players and coaches are doing in the locker room. Battleship? Scrabble? Tiddlywinks? We know it's not preparation for the 2nd half with adjustments.
Games MSU has won the last two years
|Game||Halftime score||First drive of 2nd half||2nd half score||Final score|
|Memphis||31-7||3 plays for 27 yards, punt||28-7||59-14|
|LA Tech||17-10||3 plays for 9 yards, fumble||3-10||26-20 OT|
|UAB||0-3||7 plays for 48 yards, punt||21-0||21-3|
|Kentucky||21-6||3 plays for 6 yards, punt||7-10||28-16|
|UT Martin||21-3||4 plays for 65 yards, TD||34-14||55-17|
|Ole Miss||21-0||2 plays for 27 yards, TD||10-3||31-3|
|Wake Forest||16-7||4 plays for 28 yards, INT||7-10||23-17|
|Jackson State||35-6||11 plays for 77 yards, TD||21-3||56-9|
|Auburn||7-3||8 plays for 75 yards, TD||21-7||28-10|
|Troy||23-7||7 plays for 44 yards, punt||7-17||30-24|
|South Alabama||20-0||5 plays for 50 yards, TD||10-10||30-10|
|Kentucky||20-7||2 plays for 40 yards, TD||7-7||27-14|
|Tennessee||27-14||3 plays for 9 yards, punt||14-17||41-31|
|Middle Tennessee||10-0||5 plays for 75 yards, TD||35-3||45-3|
|Arkansas||17-14||3 plays for 5 yards, punt||28-0||45-14|
These don't look too bad, but the problem is in the games that were closer the offense sputtered coming out of the locker room. Against LA Tech, UAB, Kentucky ('11), Wake, Troy, Tennessee and Arkansas MSU didn't do anything. Really only Auburn ('12), Kentucky ('12) and MTSU did State does well in a close game. Also notice the Bulldogs were leading at the half of every game but one; yet only won the 2nd half in 8 out of 15 games.
Games MSU has lost the last two years
|Games||Halftime score||First drive of 2nd half||2nd half score||Final score|
|Auburn||24-31||10 plays for 65 yards, FG||10-10||34-41|
|LSU||3-6||1 play for 0 yards, INT||3-13||6-19|
|Georgia||3-21||4 plays for 6 yards, punt||7-3||10-24|
|South Carolina||7-7||8 plays for 35 yards, downs||7-9||14-16|
|Alabama||0-7||6 plays for 19 yards, punt||7-17||7-24|
|Arkansas||10-24||3 plays for 5 yards, punt||7-20||17-44|
|Alabama||0-24||3 plays for 2 yards, punt||7-14||7-38|
|Texas A&M||0-24||3 plays for 3 yards, punt||13-14||13-38|
|LSU||10-20||3 plays for 3 yards, punt||7-17||17-37|
|Ole Miss||17-17||3 plays for 5 yards, punt||7-24||24-41|
|Northwestern||10-13||8 plays for 24 yards, FG||10-21||20-34|
|Oklahoma State||3-7||3 plays for 9 yards, punt||0-14||3-21|
What's the common denominator here? Losing going into half time (tied twice). And to compound the problem we go three & out 6 of 12 times plus an INT vs. LSU ('11) on the first play of the first drive. Only against Auburn ('11) did we put anything sustainable together on the first drive, and only twice did we put points on the board. You'd think in some of the games we were getting killed we could at least stage a comeback, but no, we lost every second half as well.
This probably doesn't mean much for the Alcorn State game so much it is a reference point for the rest of the season. MSU is going to have to get out to an early lead unless they are able to figure out how to make some adjustments and coming out firing in the 2nd half.
The MSU defense stood out Saturday, but it will need more from the offense to get the first win of the season -- Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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