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Mississippi State football: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly ahead of Alabama game

Dissecting Mississippi State’s opponent for Saturday.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 02 Mississippi State at Texas A&M Photo by Adam Davis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Bulldogs should be well rested following a bye week as they prepare to face No. 5 Alabama at Davis Wade Stadium this Saturday at 6 p.m. CT on ESPN. Alabama broke a 100-game win streak against an unranked opponent on Saturday when the Crimson Tide fell 41-38 to Texas A&M.

The Aggies jumped out to an early lead and, for the most part, played harder and cleaner than Alabama until midway through the fourth quarter when Alabama took over the game. But as they say, it was too little too late and the Aggies walked it off with a time-expiring field goal marking the biggest victory of Jimbo Fisher’s time at A&M.

So, what did we learn from Alabama’s loss against the Aggies? And how could it affect Mississippi State’s game plan this week? That is the Question, So, let’s talk Hail State football with, “The Good, the bad and the Ugly!”

The GOOD!

Let’s start with what we learned about Alabama last week. First and foremost, the Crimson Tide can be beat. As much as everyone wants to call the game a fluke victory for A&M, there were some very interesting aspects that showed some of Alabama’s weaknesses.

How about the Crimson Tide offensive line? For four quarters, the Aggies put pressure on Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, who was sacked four times in the contest. Texas A&M’s ability to put pressure on Young also added to a lot of bad throws and one interception. I truly believe Mississippi State has a much better defensive front than the Aggies and Alabama head coach Nick Saban knows this.

On the other hand, ‘Bama did not, I say again, did not produce much, if any, pressure on Texas A&M QB Zack Calzada the entire game. Believe it or not, Alabama did not record a single sack last week. Two weeks ago, the Bulldogs recorded three sacks and put pressure on Calzada pretty much the whole game and had one interception.

It is also important to consider that in MSU’s contest with Texas A&M, the Aggies combined for a total of 296 yards, which included 135 yards passing and 161 yards rushing. Against the Tide, the Aggies had 285 yards of offense through the air alone. The passing offense accounted for three touchdowns, so if someone compares the two games, you would think that the Bulldogs should, in theory, feel good heading into this week’s game. At least on paper.

The BAD!

As I mentioned above, there were some positive things for State to build on heading into this week’s matchup against those floppy-eared elephants, but let’s not fool ourselves, ‘Bama is just a good football program and normally losses like these are based on being over confidant (trap games).

Saban stated before the game that his team had a bad week of practice and, as he likes to say, his players tend to drink the Kool-Aid from the media. I can understand that after Mississippi State went into Kyle field and put a good old-fashion butt whooping on those Aggies that ‘Bama would become over-confident.

What I am trying to say is that even though ‘Bama lost last weekend, the Crimson Tide led in just about every statistic a team would want lead in. For example, time of possession, passing yards, rushing yards, third-down efficiency, and yards per play. All areas except turnovers and penalties.

Bottom line, this was one of those games were the better team just didn’t win. But they did get a little help, even though it was not enough to turn the tide, pun intended.

The Ugly

The Southeastern Conference officiating crews just SUCK this season. We already know that they blew a call when Mississippi State played Memphis, for which they later stated that the reason it was not reviewed was because the Mississippi State coaches were not mad enough. I’m talking about the punt return. You know the play were Memphis had two or three guys wearing No. 4.

One ref was calling the play dead, another was calling his bookie, and I guess Mike Leach was checking out Bigfoot in the stand because he still doesn’t know what happened on that play.

However, last week late in the fourth quarter with only five minutes left in the game, ‘Bama was down one point and had the ball on the Aggies’ 7-yard line. ‘Bama rushed up to the line of scrimmage with one of their wide receivers completely uncovered to the left side and snapped the ball well before the line was set and threw a touchdown with no flags

That play was just as obvious as the punt. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE? I though all scoring plays were reviewed, how can this happen?

This week’s prediction is based on reality. I am pretty sure that ‘Bama will want to make a statement and the Tide will do that this week. It is just bad timing for the Bulldogs to have to face an Alabama team coming off an embarrassing loss.

Prediction Week 7:

Alabama: 42

Mississippi State: 31

GOD BLESS, HAIL STATE and GO DAWGS!!!