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Mississippi State football: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly vs. Arkansas

A recap of last week’s loss to Arkansas and a preview of Saturday’s game at Auburn.

NCAA Football: Mississippi State at Arkansas Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Last Saturday’s loss to Arkansas was a tough pill to swallow, especially knowing that Mississippi State was the better team on the field. Yet, the loss to the Hogs makes this week’s game a must win for the Bulldogs if they want a top-12 bowl game in late December or early January.

However, the big question is whether the Bulldogs can go on the road into Jordan-Hare Stadium and pull another win over a Top 25 team like the Auburn Tigers. Well, I believe the answer to that question is yes. The Bulldogs can and should beat the Tigers.

Over the past several years. outside of a couple exceptions, the Bulldogs and Tiger tend to play each other very well at both locations. For example, in 2010, the year that the Tigers won the national championship, the Bulldogs came within inches of knocking Auburn out of contention that season. I believe this year’s matchup will not be any different and that this game should come down to the wire to declare the winner.

If you go by the current rankings through the first 10 weeks, Mississippi State should easily win this matchup, even if it is on the road. Why you ask? For starters, out of all the rankings, Auburn is in the top 50 in just two major categories. First, the Tigers rank 48th in the nation in rushing offense, averaging 183 .9 yards rushing per game. On the other side of the ball, the Tigers rank 49th in rushing defense, giving up 137.1 yards rushing per game.

The biggest and most important aspect of the Auburn defense comes in the area of its passing defense, which ranks 57th in passing yards allowed (224.8 yards per game). With Mississippi State averaging 376.0 yards passing per game, Auburn could be in for a long night on the Plains.

Most of the focus by those that have predicted this game pay more attention to the Tigers’ ability to run the ball. and that is understood from Auburn’s perspective. but Auburn’s ability to establish a positive running game is the only way the Tigers walk out with a victory, unless of course the Bulldogs play like they did against Arkansas and Alabama.

The Bulldogs have proven that they can control the run with a bend but don’t break mentality, but they have also proven that they can move the ball through the air against any team in the nation. Unfortunately for the Tigers, it is their week to face Mississippi State’s Air Raid offense.

So, let’s talk Hail State football with, “The Good, the bad and the Ugly!”


The Offense has become more and more productive at moving the ball, both through the air and on the ground. Facing the nation’s 35th-ranked defense in the nation this past Saturday, the Bulldogs put up 417 yards and four touchdowns through the air. In the running game, the Bulldogs put up 69 yards, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but it is where the Bulldogs chose to run that makes these yards so important. Currently, the offense is still putting up big numbers even against their Southeastern Conference opponents.

The BAD!

I want to hit on two areas this week, the first being turnovers. Yes, this past week the Bulldogs only had one turnover, which resulted in no points for Arkansas, but any turnover is bad, and they tend to stop the offense’s momentum. Once again, quarterback Will Rogers needs to be a goldfish and put up some crazy numbers again this week against the Tigers.

Second, I still have to say that several times this past weekend the defense became somewhat predictable. The touchdown pass in the fourth quarter was a slant route and not a soul was even in the area from State because they were all in the backfield of Arkansas. The Bulldogs must remain less predictable in the red zone for sure.

The Ugly

Could somebody tell me what exactly a kicker does during practice? I mean, in a three-hour session, how many kicks can each of these guys get in per day? I understand that kicking field goals is not easy, but three misses? I sure hope that the Bulldogs got this fixed this week before they head to Auburn.

I have one question. I understand that Brandon Ruiz missed two field goals in the game, but when you are playing for overtime, you must stick to your best kicker because most points in overtime tend to come by way of the field goal. I mean, even if Nolan McCord made the field goal, was he Mississippi State’s best bet in overtime?

Prediction Week 11:

As I stated above, on paper the Bulldogs should win this game by controlling both the run game and the clock, while forcing Auburn quarterback Bo Nix to win the game through the air. I believe this game could come down to the wire as they always seem to play close games. However, State rights the ship and the Pirate gets his fourth Top 25 win of the season on the Plains.

Mississippi State: 28

Auburn: 27