Let’s Talk Hail State
Week six is in the books and Mississippi State walked away with a victory against the 8th ranked Auburn Tigers down in the fabulous Starkvegas. This game was a must win for the Bulldogs if they were going to have any hope at winning the West or a championship season. The win was not pretty to say the least but any win against an SEC opponent is a good win in my book. I am pretty sure that the coaching staffs were pretty happy about the results being that they were getting a little uncomfortable sitting on their ever warming seats in early October. Yea this was a good win for the Dawgs and just in time for a much needed bye week to build on the momentum gained last Saturday night. So without further ado; LETS TALK HAIL STATE; the GOOD the BAD and the UGLY
Yes, we have some GOOD:
Well, first and foremost we won against a top ten nationally ranked opponent at home and doing it the way this team was designed to win games on the ground. State ran the ball 56 times for 350 yards against Auburn THAT’S RIGHT! Nick Fitzgerald led the rushing attack by gaining 195 yards on 28 carries. This was a great night for Nick, because he set the SEC rushing record for a quarterback, surpassing Tim Tebow. In my opinion anytime you break a record set by Tebow you’ve earned it. “So, Congrats Nick”.
Yet, Nick was not the only Bulldog putting up some good numbers on the ground both Kylin Hill and Aeris Williams punished the Auburn defense with one great run after another. Kylin Hill gained 126 yards on 23 touches averaging 5.5 per carry. Aeris Williams gained 32 yards on five touches averaging 6.4 per carry. Not a bad night against one of the nation’s top run defenses, well at least they were before they came to Davis Wade Stadium. WHAT?
What I love about these two running backs is how they complement each other with two different running styles. Hill has speed and vision and the ability to make the turn out side of the tackles, while Williams has the power to push the line of scrimmage and is a punisher between the tackles. Together they make the best one-two punch in college football this year.
How about our Offensive line and the great job they did this week. Yep that’s right this is what these guys are good at, which is creating lanes for the run game and boy did they have a night against those Tigers or Eagles whatever they are called these days. The run game was good, Nick, Hill, and Williams deserve a ton of credit for their performance but the MVP for this game goes to the O-Line and how they handled Auburn’s Defensive front. GOOD JOB!
Enough about the offense, I have a couple of good observations to make about the defense as well. Can I get a big “HAIL STATE” for Montez Sweat? Sweat had three sacks against Auburn bringing his total for the year to 7.5 compared to 10.5 for all of last year. But it was not the sacks that impressed, but rather the pressure he continued to put on Jarrett Stidham from start to finish. Because of Sweat’s ability to stay close Stidham had to rush several throws and was uncomfortable the entire game.
Moving on to the BAD:
This is going to throw some people for a loop after everything I just talked about in the previous section, but the offense didn’t look good. It almost looked like the game plan was being developed as the game was being played; it just didn’t look very clean or practiced. Don’t get me wrong the run game was effective and sustained several drives but nothing else seemed to work and that is an issue at this point in the season. The bye week should give the coaching staff an opportunity to figure out how to move forward on the offensive side of the ball. I don’t think we will see any game with less than thirty or so touches by a running back now that they see what State can do on the ground. “That’s Right”
As I have recently mentioned the secondary is much improved but still lacks the discipline needed to be an elite group or as I like to say it, “they are suckers for the trick plays”. I am sure that our defensive backs coach shows them that on each and every play each position has certain assignments and responsibilities in relation to how the offense is set, so stop being seduced by the eye candy and follow your assignments. Stay Focused.
Here is the reality of the situation: Mississippi State is settling with a 4-2 record with a 1-2 record in the SEC. The question that everyone should be asking is why that is? With all this talent from last year’s team. Well, I am going to give you my opinion and it is UGLY. Until last Saturday against Auburn, our new coaching staff failed to establish what the strengths and weaknesses of this team were. Which is a solid running attack. In addition to that previous statement, many of the coaches refused to acknowledge that our best chance for winning was with an offense designed around the run game. They forced a passing game that was never going to work this season. So, after our win against Auburn every one of our coaches should have gone back to their offices and beat there head against the wall because they are the reason this team is NOT undefeated and NOT sitting comfortably in the top ten right now. Just Saying!