In part one of the Battle for the Golden Egg Preview, we took a look at the defenses. If you missed it, here's a link. Today, we'll take a look at the MSU and TSUN offenses. Here's the position-by-position breakdown:
MSU: Dak Prescott will take the snaps for MSU on Saturday. A Heisman contender, Dak has more games of 200+ passing and 100+ rushing yards than any QB in college football. He's also the only FBS player to rank in the Top 20 in both Passing TDs and Rushing TDs and the only FBS player responsible for at least 2700 passing yards and 750 rushing yards. Dak also leads the nation in Passing TDs on 3rd down with 9. He's currently thrown 23 TDs this season and needs just 2 more to break the school single season record. Dak also has 12 TDs on the ground and 1 receiving, giving him 36 total TDs in 2014. With Dak at the helm, State is 7th nationally in total offense.
Damian Williams will back up Dak. A true sophomore, Williams hasn't played much this season. BearShark fans will remember him as the starter for State in last season's Battle for the Golden Egg. He played well enough to keep the game close into the 4th quarter. This season, Williams has mostly been in games during garbage time and been forced to live with very conservative play calling. He looked much better against Vandy when the play calling remained aggressive and he was running the actual offense as opposed to just being there to hand off the ball or throw short 3rd down passes.
TSUN: Bo Wallace will handle the QB duties for the Confederates. A senior, Bo has more 300+ yard passing games than Eli Manning. He's thrown for over 2700 yards this season and 22 TDs. Wallace also has 4 rush TDs giving him a total of 26 this season. Bo has struggled with turnovers throughout his career and has thrown 10 INTs so far this season. TSUN is 45th nationally in total offense, although they're 32nd in passing offense.
Two redshirt freshmen, DeVante Kincade and Ryan Buchanan, back up Wallace. Kincade has been much more efficient in his opportunities, completing 15 of 17 passes for 106 yards, 1 TD, and no INTs. He's also rushed for 24 times for 88 yards and 1 TD. Look to see Jeremy Liggins in short yardage and red zone packages, too.
Edge: MSU. While Dak and Bo are pretty even statistically in the passing department, Dak's rush numbers crush Bo's. Plus Dak's intangibles are off the charts. Williams has more game experience in significant games than Kincade or Buchanan, so you have to take him over them.
MSU: State's primary rusher is Josh Robinson. J-Rob has proven to be one of the SEC's best RBs this season, accumulating 1084 rushing yards, 11 rushing TD, and averaging 6.6 YPC. He's also State's second leading receiver with 361 yards and 1 TD. J-Rob has been very difficult to tackle and has very good speed in the open field. What's amazed me is that his YPC have actually increased this season, as he was averaging 6.0 YPC for his career while splitting carries with the departed LaDarius Perkins.
State will also likely get carries from the group of Ashton Shumpert, Brandon Holloway, and Nick Griffin. Shumpert and Griffin are big, physical bruisers at RB. Holloway is a scatback and possibly the fastest player on the team. Everyone in the group has found the land of milk and honey this season, and Shumpert has done so twice. Also look for Griffin and Shump to see some snaps in a FB role.
TSUN: Jaylen Walton is the primary RB for the Black Bears. He's a scatback at 5'8", 166 and has rushed for 435 yards, 4 TDs, and 5.2 YPC. Walton has added another 181 yards and 2 TDs receiving. You have to respect his speed and keep an eye on him out of the backfield.
Behind Walton, the BearSharks will primarily use I'Tavius Mathers, Mark Dodson and Jordan Wilkins. Mathers is another scatback who's rushed for 264 yards and 3 TDs. Dodson is a back similar to both Walton and Mathers, although he's a little bigger, and has rushed for 243 yards, 4 TDs, and 7.1 YPC. Wilkins is the power back for TSUN, checking in at 6'1", 209. He's been arguably the most productive back from a pure rushing standpoint with 316 yards and 6.9 YPC, but only 1 TD.
EDGE: State. The Dawgs rushing attack is 19th nationally. Only Auburn and Georgia in the SEC have better rushing offenses. State is also the best inside rushing team in the nation. TSUN has struggled to run the ball period, but especially between the tackles. Other than Wilkins, they just don't have any backs with the size to get it done between the tackles.
MSU: The Dawgs will start the trio of De'Runnya Wilson, Jameon Lewis, and Robert Johnson. Wilson has been inconsistent this season, having a couple of big games, then disappearing for a couple of games. However, he still leads the team with 30 receptions, 468 yards, and 6 TDs. He's also a very good run blocker. Lewis' senior season has been marred with injury. He's missed several games with a knee issue, but returned against Bama and been fine since. He's only has 281 yards and 2 TDs this season, but he will be a big part of the offense on Saturday. Robert Johnson has been a solid possession receiver in his career and has 210 yards and 1 TD this season. The reason he starts is he is State's best run blocking WR and extremely physical, plus he has a knack for making spectacular boundary catches.
State will also spread the ball around to Fred Brown, Fred Ross, Joe Morrow, and Gabe Myles. Brown has been a favorite target of Dak's this season with 17 receptions, 293 yards, and 2 TDs. Ross is right with him with 19 grabs, 289 yards, and 4 TDs. He's been a deep threat for Dak, showing a knack for getting open when Dak scrambles. Joe Morrow has finally flipped the switch in 2014 and started delivering production with his talent. He's got 227 yards and 4 TDs on the campaign. Game Myles started in place of Lewis for much of the season and did a tremendous job. While not quite as quick as Lewis, Myles is faster and bigger. He's been effective, gaining 186 yards, although he's failed to find the endzone.
TSUN: Vince Sanders, Cody Core, and Quincy Adeboyejo are the starting trio for the BearSharks, following the injury to Laquon Treadwell. Sanders leads the team with 647 yards and 6 TDs. Core has been a pleasant surprise for TSUN this season and has 480 yards and 5 TDs. Adeboyejo has a productive 4th WR and is now starting. He's accumulated 279 yards and 2 TDs on the season.
Behind them, the BearSharks will get the ball into the hands of Markell Pack, Quintavius Burdette, Derrick Jones, and Trey Bledsoe. Pack has made the biggest impact of the group with 118 yards, but no TDs. None of the rest of the group has more than 55 yards and only Jones has scored. Bledsoe appears to be a very recent addition to the rotation.
Edge: MSU. Before the injury to Treadwell, I'd have given TSUN the edge here. But Treadwell was by far their best offensive player. You don't lose him and be the same offensively. State showed that they could carry on offensively without Lewis. They spread the ball around more and Bear Wilson's upside is in the same league as Treadwell.
MSU: Malcolm Johnson will start at TE for the Dawgs. A senior, he's a WR/TE hybrid that causes matchup nightmares in the passing game. State has also used him in the run game recently, busting out the triple option with the TE as an inside pitch man like Mullen used with Aaron Hernandez at FL. Johnson has 23 catches, 330 yards, and 3 TDs this season.
State will also get significant snaps from Brandon Hill and Gus Walley. Hill may be the most complete TE on the roster. While not as good receiving as as MoJo or Walley, he's a much better blocker. He's managed 57 yards and 1 TD this season. Walley has 42 yards and 1 TD.
TSUN: Evan Engram gets the nod for TSUN. Engram is another hybrid TE. He's been a favorite target for Bo, collecting 475 yards and 2 TDs.
The BearSharks will use Nick Parker and Jeremy Liggins behind Engram. Parker is a converted RB and is almost exclusively used as a blocker. He doesn't have a reception in 2014. Liggins has just 1 reception.
Edge: TSUN. Engram is the best TE on either team. While he's more of a hybrid, he also is very good at blocking. Hill and Walley are both better than Liggins, although Parker is probably a push if he were utilized better.
MSU: State starts Blaine Clausell, Justin Malone, Dillon Day, Ben Beckwith, and Justin Senior. This is a big, physical group that's paved the way for a national Top 20 rushing attack and Top 10 offense. Clausell, Day, and Beckwith have all started 30+ games in their careers. This group has allowed 18 sacks this season, tied for 32nd nationally.
Those 5 will be backed by Devon Desper, Jamaal Clayborn, and Rufus Warren. Desper has been very good this season and started twice. Clayborn may have the most upside of any OL on the team. Coaches refer to him as a Gabe Jackson clone. Warren is a converted TE who's still learning, but the talent is there.
TSUN: Laremy Tunsil, Aaron Morris, Ben Still, Justin Bell, and Fahn Cooper start for the Confederates. Tunsil is very good, but has injury problems. He also never seems to finish a tough game. Morris is huge, but hasn't looked the same after returning from an injury that cost him the 2013 season. This group as a whole has been very suspect. As noted above, they haven't generated many openings for the rushing game and they've given up 25 sacks, tied for 80th nationally.
Behind them, the Confederates will play Davion Johnson, Craig Frigo, Rod Taylor, Robert Conyers, and Daronte Bouldin. These guys have been as bad or worse than the starters. Davion Johnson should probably be listed as a co-starter with Tunsil, considering how much he has to play. Taylor is a true freshman, which almost never bodes well in the SEC.
Edge: State. This isn't really close. State has had one of the best OLs in the SEC this season and the best group in Mullen's tenure. TSUN's line has been porous at best.
MSU: Evan Sobiesk will handle the kicking for State. He's been good this season, hitting 9/10 FGs and everything from inside 40 yards. He has missed 3 XPs, however.
TSUN: Gary Wunderlich has taken over the kicking for TSUN after a mid-season change. He's hit 4/5 FGs and his lone miss was from 50+. He's also 100% on XPs.
Edge: TSUN. Sobiesk has improved this season to be solid. But Wunderlich has been very good and has a stronger leg. If the game comes down to a 40+ yard FG, I take him.
MSU: Hollway and RoJo are the KR unit for State. This unit averages 20.13 YPR and has 1 TD. That's 77th nationally.
TSUN: Jaylen Walton and Kailo Moore are the KR unit for TSUN. Walton is their all-time leader KR yardage leader. Despite that, the unit averages just 18.86 YPR and has 0 TDs. That puts them 106th nationally.
Edge: MSU. I was surprised to see TSUN is worse at KR than State. When you see they have an all-time school record holder back there, you expect more. That said, neither team is objectively good at KR.
MSU: Fred Ross has taken over the PR duties for the Dawgs. He's been solid and showed good hands. PR men for State have just 98 PR yards this season and only average 4.26 YPR. That is 113th nationally.
TSUN: Markell Pack is the PR man for the BearSharks. He catches what's kicked to him, but hasn't shown any explosiveness. The PR unit has only 120 PR yards and averages just 5.71 YPR, which is 98th nationally.
Edge: Push. Both teams are awful at PR.
WMD's Final Thoughts: There's a reason State has a Top 10 offense nationally. The key is the OL. It's a nasty, physical group that just wears on you over the course of a game. TSUN might have one of the softest "elite" players in football on their OL in Laremy Tunsil. And they can't count on Bo Wallace to make plays in the clutch, despite his record numbers. They also lack a running game. State's strength is running the ball and running it between the tackles. Laquon Treadwell would have arguably been the best player on the field and covered up a lot of offensive deficiencies. State needs to turn the big guys loose Saturday and commit to running the football. I would also look for State's DL to have a huge day. Bo Wallace might want to consider taking out some life insurance.
In Mullen We Trust,