The Bulldogs got off to a good start in Southeastern Conference play this past Saturday, defeating Kentucky 28-13 in Starkville. This could prove to be the key win for the Bulldogs in order to maintain their current streak of 10 consecutive bowl game appearances. I’m not saying that we had to win this game to get there, but it sure helped from a momentum standpoint heading into our second SEC matchup and our first SEC West opponent.
On Saturday, the Bulldogs will be on the road for the second time this season, heading to another hostile area over in Auburn, Alabama. The Tigers are currently ranked No. 7 in the nation in the Associated Press polls after defeating Texas A&M 28-20 last Saturday in College Station. I hate to sound like a broken record, but just like last week, this week’s game will be out toughest test to date.
Auburn currently ranks 20th in the country in overall run defense, allowing just 89 yards rushing per game, while also giving up just two rushing touchdowns the season. Through the first four games, opposing teams are averaging just 3.09 yards per carry on 116 attempts against the Auburn defense. I look forward to seeing how well the Tigers hold up against Mississippi State’s running game, which is led by Kylin Hill. Hill ranks No. 5 in the nation in rushing with 137.8 yards per contest.
I’m still carrying this game as an upset opportunity for the Bulldogs, even if it is on the road in Auburn. I believe the Bulldogs can contain JaTarvious Whitlow on the ground and force freshman quarterback Bo Nix to beat us through the air. However, I admit that Nix has shown the ability to perform under pressure and on a national stage. The Bulldogs need to get pressure on him early and keep him out of rhythm the entire game. Another aspect of the Auburn offense that stands out from last week was the use of the jet swipe and speedster Anthony Schwartzs, the only thing this wide receiver doesn’t have is wings because his as* can flat out fly. The Bulldog defense has to have a plan for all the misdirection and outside-run plays they will face this weekend.
With all that being said, let’s talk Hail State with the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Week 4 against Kentucky.
To start, it is comforting to know that we have more than one quality quarterback. Tommy Stevens is still recovering from what seems to be two upper-body injuries this week. From what I am hearing, it’s a no go for Saturday as well. That puts true freshman quarterback Garret Shrader back under center for the second week in a row. The only difference is that we will be on the road in one of the toughest places in the country and playing against the No. 7 Auburn Tigers. Honestly, have no worries. Whether it be Stevens, Shrader, or junior quarterback Keytaon Thompson, we will have a quality quarterback under center this weekend.
Kylin Hill hit 100 yards for the fourth-straight week, while continuing to be ranked third in the country in rushing with 551 yards rushing on 91 carries. It will be exciting to see what he can do this weekend on the plains in Auburn.
The last good of the week is the fact that we started off SEC play in the win column while carrying some positive momentum into this week’s game on both sides of the ball. HAIL STATE!!!
For starters, we need to learn some time management. I just don’t understand why our offense was snapping the ball with 10-15 seconds left on the possession clock in the third and fourth quarters when holding a two-possession lead. Instead of rushing our snaps, we needed to be MILKING THAT CLOCK LIKE A FAT HOLSTEIN!!! I am sure all State fans can relate to that analogy.
How about the use of a timeout before the interception in second quarter? Anyone watching the game could see Coach Joe Mo was yelling to spike the ball before the snap. The problem here, to me at least, was why not just call a timeout? We had two and it was clear there was a miscommunication between the coaching staff and the offense. This should have been a coaches call to prevent a hurry-up situation, which ultimately led to an interception. This whole situation created a momentum shift in favor of Kentucky. Not Good.
Tackling, Tackling, Tackling, Tackling, Tackling, Tackling. I mean, HOLY COW DROPPINGS. As always, I never call out a player unless it is a good thing, but COME ON!!! There were a few times where it looked like few defenders were scared to make any contact at all. I really hope this improves greatly this week because the overall tackling was ugly and hard to watch, AGAIN! I understand the bend but don’t break mentality, but let’s not look like a rubber band that stretches the entire field. Outside of the tackling issues, the defense looked pretty good overall,
Last, I would like to voice my concern over the ejection of Willie Gay Jr. for basically being held by a Kentucky lineman. I mean, really? There was no fighting, no punches thrown, no kicking, no biting or fingers to the eyes, but yet Gay got ejected. Just wrong!! Like when someone removes their helmet while celebrating, it’s not allowed-----EVER.
For the rest of the Mississippi State Bulldogs, please celebrate without removing your helmet until you get back to the sideline.
HAIL STATE AND GO DAWGS.