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Know the Foe - South Alabama

There is no history of MSU vs. South Alabama. In fact, there isn't much history of any team vs. South Alabama. They up and decided to start a football program a few years ago and began their pigskin voyage in 2009. They only played seven games that year, and they won them all. But they played teams like Hargrave Military Academy and other prep type schools, jucos and Division III's that year. In 2010, they stepped into some FCS games as well as Division II and NAIA - they went 10-0. They took a big jump in 2011 when they played two FBS teams, only two Division II teams and the rest FCS - they went 6-4. For 2012, they are going full bore by playing 12 FBS teams and only one FCS.

So far the Jaguars are 1-2, having lost to UT-San Antonio (they are FBS, who knew?) by a narrow 33-31 margin and getting stomped by N.C. State 31-7. This will be USA's 5th game ever vs. a FBS school, 3rd vs. a BCS school, and only their 2nd different BCS opponent.

South Alabama is in the Sun Belt this year...just like Troy, Western Kentucky and Louisiana Monroe. My summer preview on this team was here.

I haven't seen this team play. In fact, I have never seen this team play. That should tell you that Mississippi State should throttle them. If N.C. State, the school that stole "This is OUR State" to use in North Carolina can beat them by three touchdowns, MSU ought to beat them by five. And the 34.5 point spread bears that out.

Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A AY/A TD Int Rate
36 59 61.0 367 6.2 5.4 2 2 117.7

20 32 62.5 247 7.7 6.9 1 1 131.4

It looks like they have two quarterbacks: C.J. Bennett (top) and Ross Metheny (bottom). Based off the numbers, neither of these two look like Corey Robinson of Troy. Phew.

<-- South Alabama Mississippi State -->
Avg. Yds (Rk) Category Avg. Yds (Rk)
204.7 (83rd) Pass Off. 219.7 (67th)
95.7 (105th) Rush Off. 193.7 (42nd)
189.3 (32nd) Pass Def. 210.0 (46th)
110.7 (32nd) Rush Def. 141.0 (53rd)

Offensive Player to watch: RB Demetre Baker - 183 yards rushing and 55 receiving out of the backfield.

They have five receivers who have caught at least 5 balls, but no one who has caught more than 7.

Defensive Player(s) to watch: LB Jake Johnson - 30 tackles in 3 games including 4 for loss and a sack. DB Tyrelle Pearson - 2 tackles for loss, an INT and 3 passes defended this year.

Interesting things of note:

  • The Jaguars have turned the ball over 9 times this year (6 fumbles, 3 INTs). They are -5, MSU is +11.
  • USA is holding teams to 26% on 3rd down conversions. MSU offense has been 21% the last two games.
  • They have been outscored 51-17 in the 1st half, MSU is outscoring opponents 65-16 in the 1st half.
What to look for: Turnovers, points, and a big lead going into halftime for the Bulldogs...then cruise to victory. If not, then it's going to be a long bye week for the players, and another peed off Mullen on the coaches show Sunday (instead of the happy clown version after the Auburn game).

If this preview didn't do it for you then you can read these notes which should tell you literally everything you could possibly want to know about South Alabama.