“I think this just might be my masterpiece”- Aldo Raine
This should have been the first thing Dan Mullen said to the media after the masterclass of a performance the Dawgs put up against Texas A&M on Saturday night. MSU legs have tended to be wobbly on Texas soil but that all changed on Saturday. Mullen, Grantham, and the Dawgs outcoached, out played, and just out hustled the Aggies in a game that rarely felt out of control. In what is turning into a running theme where we either A) blowout a team and I struggle to find Bad or B)we get blown out and a struggle to find Good, let’s dive into the game from Saturday:
- While I normally start with Offense, I do not think you can ignore the performance Grantham and the Defense put on Saturday. Just the sheer effort and tackling were exceptional and frustrated the up tempo, big play offense of A&M. The Grantham revelation has been a great follow up to the Sirmon series we experienced last year.
- Instead of copy and pasting what I said last week, I will just reiterate that our LB is in AMAZING hands for years to come with Leo Lewis, Erroll Thompson, and Willie Gay Jr. Dez Harris picked up an injury early in the game and the defense did not miss a beat with Thompson and Gay rotating in to pick up the slack.
- Remember that time I asked where Jamal Peters was? Well, we found him in College Station. I said he needed to catch fire down the stretch and get his confidence up. A pick six later and cue that spark. Let’s hope he rides this momentum into a big last few games because we will need him against Bama and the Black Bear’s WRs.
- Montez Sweat, Mark McLaurin, and Johnathan Abram are unquestioned leaders on this team right now and I would follow them anywhere. Also, remember when everyone was freaking out over Abram’s targeting penalty in the Spring Game last year? Wave to the haters Abram.
- Offensively, this was actually a fairly quiet game for us. By that, I mean the machine just kept turning with no major hiccups or overdrive needed. Dan clearly wanted to control possession and the clock and orchestrated a beautiful drive early in the first that set the tone.
- Fitz looked very solid running the ball and is starting to make the ever so slow turn as a QB. He made some really impressive passes in tight spaces Saturday. Also, he made some bad and high throws but I have come to just expect and live with this fact. If he follows those up with 65 yard runs it’s a wash for me.
- Our stable of RB’s aka Williams, Gibson, Hill, and Lee punished the A&M defensive line all night with hard running. The stat sheet may have not been overflowing for any one in particular but their cumulative effort cannot be understated. We pounded them into submission by the end of the 3rd quarter. BEAUTIFUL.
- Jesse Jackson made some really nice catches on Saturday and is giving me a lot of hope that he can be counted on down the stretch and more encouragingly into next year. Tip of my cap to you Mr. Jackson. Pinebelt Pride.
As I explained in the opening, it was tough to find any real bad in this game but if I had to be nit-picky I would say the turnovers were not pleasing. Fitz threw a very bad pick that if he had just looked to his left and gone through his progressions could have been avoided; as the RB had slipped into the flat and was wide open for a first down.
Our RBs also fumbled twice which we recovered thankfully. Against a better team that might be quicker we cannot expect to be this lucky and we have shown that our turnovers can come back to haunt us this year. It was just a little sloppiness that can be fixed with repetition at practice this week and a good ear chewing in the film room on Monday.
- The Dawgs are banged up. Dez Harris and Donald Gray both pick up knocks that took them out of the game for a spell. This on top of Rankin, Myles, and more missing the game due to injury and this all means one thing, we need a rest week. Thankfully with UMASS coming town, hopefully we can run the ball down their throat and put this one to bed early in the second half. This should be a prime game to get some of the younger guys some reps. We still have the stretch of Bama, @Ark, and the Egg Bowl to finish the year, and we need everyone healthy and firing on all cylinders.
- Fitz is our QB who can run very well and is evolving as a passer but Saturday he showed something he should never attempt again…..punting. His 14 yard pooch punt attempt was laughable and a little scary seeing as it came when the game was still somewhat close. Dan please don’t be cute in games like this. If we need to punt, do it with our punter.
The Dawgs are back in the College Football Top 25 at number 16 with UMASS this week in Starkville. As previously stated, I hope to be enjoying a nice lunch as the Dawgs wrap this one up early. We are bigger, faster, and have more facial hair so show them that this coming Saturday. Welcome home boys, you done good.