Yeah, the Mississippi St. Bulldogs lost to the Alabama Crimson Tide 51-3 on Saturday. As bad as it was, nothing changed my opinion on whether or not the Bulldogs can win the last two games of the season.
MSU has a great chance to win the last two games of the year and make it to a bowl for the seventh straight season. Arkansas comes to Starkville, and the Bulldogs will have an opportunity in Oxford to take back the Golden Egg. Losing 51-3 against one of Nick Saban’s best teams at Bama doesn’t change that.
You can argue the Bulldogs should have made it a little more competitive, but that’s a small point. Most teams don’t score on Bama, and the Bulldogs continued that tradition.
The reason it changes nothing about these last two games is because we still know the same things about the Bulldogs’ last two opponents. Consider this about Arkansas.
As much as we make fun of the defenses at Cal, Texas Tech and Oregon, Arkansas now owns the nation's dead-last rushing D. Ouch.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) November 13, 2016
That’s not last in SEC, that’s not last in Power 5, that’s last in FBS. The Arkansas Razorbacks are giving up 217 yards per game and 6.3 yards per carry. That’s not good. The Bulldogs are averaging 213 yards per game and 5.1 yards per carry, which is 6th best in the conference.
The Razorbacks are a decent offensive team. The big thing to watch will be how their defense stops our running game, and how our defense stops their passing game. A win shouldn’t be expected, but it certainly is very possible. How has Arkansas done against teams that are good running teams?
- Texas A&M 45, Arkansas 21
- Alabama 49, Arkansas 30
- Auburn 56, Arkansas 3
- LSU 38, Arkansas 10
The only two teams in SEC play the Razorbacks have beaten were Florida and Ole Miss. They are the 12th and 13th best rushing teams in the conference respectively. The Bulldogs can still win this game.
When it comes to the Egg Bowl, I know Shea Patterson scared a lot of State fans this past weekend. He could have a great game against the Bulldogs really awful secondary.
But Ole Miss actually gives up more yards per game than Arkansas, they just give up less per carry. Ole Miss gives up 231 yards rushing per game and 5.1 yards per carry. Again, it will be about our run game versus their run defense and their passing game versus our pass defense. How has Ole Miss done against teams that run the ball really well?
- Florida State 45, Ole Miss 34
- Alabama 48, Ole Miss 43
- Auburn 40, Ole Miss 29
- LSU 38, Ole Miss 21
- Ole Miss, 29, Texas A&M 28
The one game that would cause concern would be Texas A&M. But the Aggies lost a huge chunk of their rushing game when Trevor Knight went down, so it is hard to use that game as any kind of an example.
The Bulldogs need to pound the ball in their next two games. If they can keep the score close, they should be able to use the running game to wear the Razorbacks and Rebels down. Our mantra must be #AlwaysRunNeverPass.