State finally notched one against Auburn.
What we know now is that Auburn wasn't any good this year, so winning this game 28-10 ended up not being too impressive. But going into this game, there was plenty on the line. The MSU team and fanbase had this game circled for a number of reasons, and it was important to get over the hump vs. Auburn. In addition to that, the Tigers hadn't given up on the season yet, like they showed in the back half of the year. Here's a review of the game...
State got the ball first and had a nice drive. The announcer even called LaDarius Perkins by his given name (called him Philips in 2nd & 3rd quarters). Russell was 4 of 4 before Marcus Green dropped an easy first down pass in the red zone. MSU had to settle for a field goal attempt which was badly missed by Devon Bell.
Matthew Wells was everywhere on the first defensive series and they force a punt.
3 and out for State.
Dawgs were tackling well and looking good to force a 3 & out.
Jenn Brown was at the game.
3rd series for MSU - Russell takes a shot 30 yards down-field intended for Joe Morrow but it was battled away by Ta'Sharvon Bell. That was about the extent of going deep to Morrow this year. Another 3 & out.
Auburn got the ball back and State continued to snuff everything out - all over Frazier and McCalebb. The Tigers had a 3 & 34 on this drive.
First play of the next drive for State, Chris Smith loses fumbles after making a catch on the MSU 39. Auburn takes over and the 1st quarter ends, 0-0.
MSU stopped them on a goal to go situation - Cam Lawrence literally knew what their play call was and the Bulldogs got a tackle for loss. 23 yard FG gave Auburn a 3-0 lead.
First couple of series on the 5th drive featured Robert Johnson, Jameon Lewis and Joe Morrow in at the same time - none of the seniors. The drive ended with a nice 30 yard touchdown throw and catch: Russell to Green. 7-3 State.
First play of the next drive Banks intercepts Frazier and appears to run in back for a TD but he stepped out of bounds. A block in the back penalty by Blaine Clausell forced State into a long FG attempt which was blocked.
After one first down running the ball, Frazier threw another pick to Banks. Frazier ended the 1st half 1 of 7 for -2 yards and 2 INT.
Russell was sacked by Lemonier, 3 and out. Auburn took a knee to end the half.
Halftime: Mississippi State 7, Auburn 3
Onterio McCalebb returned the 2nd half opening kickoff for a touchdown. Johnthan Banks tried to punch the ball out instead of tackling him near mid-field and no one else even touched him, 10-7 Aubie.
The Bulldogs' offense came back out and Russell immediately hit Arceto Clark for a 20 yard pass, Perkins had a 5 yard run, then Chris Smith had a 10 yard catch. Perkins converted the first 3rd down on the day, then Russell hit Bumphis on a beautiful 13 yard pass and catch in the back corner of the endzone, 14-10 State.
3 and out for the Tigers.
On 4th and 1 from midfield Dak Prescott picked up the first down. After a nice run by Perkins, Jameon Lewis caught a 20 yard pass to enter the red zone. Prescott came back in, but according to the announcer his name was Preston. Russell came back in, however, and hit Green for another TD, this time a 4 yard pass completed in the back corner of the endzone. 21-10 State.
Wilson brought a linebacker blitz and Frazier finally completed a pass that went for 15 yards. I guess that's why we seemingly never blitzed again. Auburn punts again.
Later that day it was #24 Florida at Texas A&M - wow, those teams were underrated. Brian Griese said he expected a lot of big things out of Johnny Manziel...got to hand it to him there, I didn't hear anyone else saying that (that I can remember).
As much as the offense moved the ball, they went 3 and out for the 4th time here, and this made them 1 for 8 on 3rd down.
After one Auburn play the 3rd quarter ended with MSU leading 21-10. The Tigers only had 90 total yards going into the 4th. Another 3 and out here as well.
Nick Griffin opens the drive with a 21 yard run. Then Green caught a 20 yards pass. On the 3rd and final play of the drive, Perkins broke five tackles and dove into the endzone for a 21 yard touchdown run (which is the picture at the top of this article). 28-10 State.
Keihl Frazier suddenly learned how to pass once MSU dropped back into a zone, completing passes for 21 and 14 yards - doubling his passing total to that point. In was short lived, however, as Darius Slay picked him off in the endzone and ran it back to the 31 yard line. The disappointed looks on the faces of the Auburn faithful was a welcomed site.
3 and out for the Dawgs.
After one first down, Frazier fumbled (forced by Matthew Wells) the ball on a scramble and Josh Boyd recovered.
Derrick Milton starts the next drive off with a nice 12 yard run. 15 yard run for Robinson. Aubie forced a turnover on downs on their own 24.
Frazier drove them down the field in garbage time, but then Preston Smith sacked him and forced a fumble and Quay Evans recovered. Dan Mullen/Preston Smith chest bump.
Russell takes a knee, game over.
Final: Mississippi State 28, Auburn 10
- Tyler Russell: 20 of 29 for 222 yards, 3 TD
- LaDarius Perkins: 14 carries for 83 yards, TD
- Marcus Green: 4 catches for 54 yards, 2 TD
- Johnthan Banks: 6 tackles, 2 INT
Matthew Wells was a big time player in this game, and the Jackson State game as well, but he kind of disappeared after this. Joe Morrow got some balls thrown his way in the first half, but there wasn't much the rest of the year for him either.
Mississippi State beat Auburn for first time since 2007, and only the 2nd time since 2001. They became 2-0 on the year for the first time since 2000. This got the 'haven't beaten a West team not named Ole Miss' monkey off Mullen's back.
In retrospect, this dominating performance wasn't as impressive as we may have thought at the time. But nonetheless, it was a key win which was important to the season, and greatly influenced the trajectory of each team's season.
This was a big win for our program. - Dan Mullen