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Keys to Victory: Mustard Buzzard Edition

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Planning for a MSU Victory

Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Peeps, it is FINALLY game week! And as we all know, MSU makes the short trip to Hattiesburg for a clash with USM on Saturday night. So what does State need to do to walk out of "The Pebble" with a win? Here's what I think:

1. Run the "Darn" Football: All of you regular readers last year had to know this was coming. State is a run-first team. We need to establish dominance up front early and control the tempo. Make USM pay for making a tackle and break their will. Feed Ashton Shumpert, Aeris Williams, and Dontavian Lee early and often.

2. Tackling: I want to see us tackle well. Get to the ball carrier and wrap him up. Limit Yards After Contact (YAC). No trying to knock down guys with a big hit. No extra yards because of broken tackles.

3. No Injuries: Self-explanatory. Don't get anyone hurt in a game that should be won easily.

Let's be honest for a minute: State basically just needs to show up and play hard to win this game. USM is not a good team. We should be able to physically impose our will on the Golden Eagles. If we can't do that, we should be very worried. I expect us to throw a little more than I'd like while Dak is in the game, but I'm a 60/40 run/pass guy. I think we'll be around 55/45 or 50/50 with Dak. We'll probably see that percentage increase once we start playing Fitzgerald and Staley. Mainly, I'm just looking for us to be physical, win handily, and avoid injuries. So long as we do that, it will be a successful night. The real tests start next weekend.