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Mississippi State vs. Alabama: Five Takeaways

Mississippi State dropped their first game of the season at Alabama, 25-20. While there's plenty to harp on, there are some positives to take away from the game

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

It looked like Sylvester Croom was calling plays

Let me start out by saying I think Dan Mullen's play calling has been good more often than not this season, and it's a big reason we got to 9-0. But man, what was he thinking? After they've stuffed Dak five times in a row running it up in the middle, you have to try something else. There continues to be far too few short passing plays called as well. When they run those plays, it's usually a guaranteed five or six yards. The short passing game needs to be utilized more often to set up 3rd and short. Also, I understand J-Rob messed up big time on the safety, but don't punish him for that by barely giving him the ball all game. He only had four or five carries in the first half and 12 for the entire game. That's your best weapon on offense, and even when Dak was getting stuffed, you continued to deny him the ball. I won't even get into clock management because I don't want to get angry.

The defense deserves a steak after that game

What an effort by Mississippi State's defense to keep them in the game for four quarters. Honestly, they were asked to do way too much considering Bama's starting field position all day long. They held Bama to just six points after the 19-0 start, and if it weren't for them, this game could have gotten ugly. They held Amari Cooper to under 100 yards receiving, and that's always considered a victory. Tackling was bad at times, but as a whole they did their job and gave us a chance to win. Beniquez Brown is emerging as a superstar at linebacker, and he'll be a future high draft pick for sure.

Verne and Gary made me want to listen to the game on the radio

What an absolute disgrace those guys are. They talked about Mississippi State like they were 0-9, not 9-0. It was just a complete lack of respect. It was everything from calling Devon Bell's punt a high school kick to calling Dak Prescott an inferior quarterback. It was a bad kick and a bad interception; we all saw it. You don't have to belittle the players. Just do your job, and call the game. Their love fest with Alabama is so obvious. When De'Runnya got tackled in the end zone before the ball even got there, they didn't say a word. When De'Runnya pushed off of a Bama defender and made a catch on the sideline, they said it was obvious and should have been called. Unbelievable. FYI, they were both seen later that night with the refs having dinner with Coach Saban, his wife, and Mike Slive. No but really.

A lot of special teams questions were answered

I was interested to see how Fred Ross would do at punt returner in a pressure packed game. I thought he played well. Anytime no punts are fumbled we are happy, but he also had a nice 20+ yard punt return that put us in great field position late in the game. A big shout out to Evan Sobiesk for making both of his attempted field goals. He's 8-9 on the season and 4-4 in Death Valley and Bryant Denny. We may not have a consistent long-range kicker, but Sobiesk is money from short distance. I don't think he's getting as much recognition as he should be. On the negative side, Devon Bell had a horrible game. There's no other way to put it. He has more head scratching moments in his career than great kicks. I think it's time to hand it over to Logan Cooke.

This is still an elite team

Any other Dan Mullen team, outside of maybe 2010, would have gotten blown out Saturday. Just look at 2012. That team fell behind early in Tuscaloosa and lost by almost thirty points. The fact that these guys were able to outscore Bama 20-6 after being down 19-0 deserves a lot of praise. At the end of the day, in a game where everything that could go wrong did, you lost by five points on the road at Alabama. I don't like claiming moral victories, but this is one if there ever has been. The comeback kept the Dogs in strong playoff contention, and national championship hopes are still alive.