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The Aftermath of MSU 47 UAB 34: Why You Shouldn't Panic

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The second game of the season caused a lot more finger nail biting than many fans had in mind. Many came away disappointed, but we'll tell you why that shouldn't be the case.

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Yes, Mississippi State only beat a Conference USA team by thirteen points. Yes, they gave up 34 points and way too many yards. On the bright side, the team now has a lot they can work on in practice this week, unlike last week. It's also nice to get to do this after a victory instead of a loss. At the end of the day, the Dogs are still 2-0, and that's the most important thing. Let's not hit the panic button just yet.

We can get this out of the way first... as far as the kicking game is concerned, go ahead and panic all you want. Go into full meltdown mode because at this rate the kicking is going to cost State a big SEC game down the road. It's amazing that UAB can find a good kicker but an SEC team can't. If the State kickers can barely make extra points, how can we expect them to make a game winning 45 yard field goal late in the 4th quarter? Something needs to change, and it needs to change fast.

As far as the rest of the team is concerned, they are going to be just fine. It would be different if UAB had lined up and outmatched MSU physically up front all day long. That just wasn't the case. The main problem on defense were the corners letting receivers behind them on the deep route and then not going up and making a play when they had the chance. These are things that can easily be corrected. After all, all we heard all week was how UAB wanted to run the football. That's exactly what this team prepared for was to stop the run. The MSU corners had no idea they would be challenged vertically all day long. Take away the deep passing game and Mississippi State wins this game by thirty forty points.

The secondary is not what they showed Saturday. It's the same group of guys that shut down Alabama and Ole Miss last year, among other SEC teams. They've been there, done that, and had success. It would be different if it were five new guys out there starting. These veterans will bounce back just fine and hopefully use this game as motivation. Their mistakes are ones that can be fixed with better technique. It's better to get this out of their system now before league play starts.

As far as the offense, I thought there were definitely some bright spots. As long as Dan Mullen stops rotating quarterbacks, the offense will be fine. It's hard to get in a rhythm when you can't stay in the game. That idea needs to go out the window. Dak's injury could have had something to do with it. But If Dak is healthy enough to play every other series, then he is healthy enough to not come out of the game at all. The good news is that the rotating idea went terribly, so surely we won't have to see it again this year.

Dak and J-Rob looked really good running the football, and you will see a heavy dose of that going forward. The two combined for 241 yards on the ground. I think Mullen wanted to play it safe and not show too much of the offense much like last week. But when it became clear that UAB would be in it until the end, Mullen opened up the playbook. We saw a lot more designed runs for Prescott, and he ran the ball exceptionally well like he always does. It's clear that this offense is at it's best when Dak is running the football. Not only is he money on third or fourth down and short, but it opens up the passing game as well.

The stalled drives and three and outs will not show up nearly as often once they start consistently running the full offense. The passing game was off yesterday with receivers not getting open and then dropping balls. Once Dak's legs are utilized for an entire game, the play action will be deadly and receivers will start to get more separation. We all know what De'Runnya and Jameon bring to the table. Saturday's game shouldn't cause too much concern. They are going to have big years.

Lastly, UAB is no pushover. It's obvious that their 48-10 blowout of Troy last week was no fluke. This team is going to win a lot of games this year and will most likely win that conference. By all accounts, Bill Clark is one of the best up and rising coaches in college football. He won't be at UAB long at this rate. It's amazing the turnaround that team has made in such a short period of time.

When it all comes down to it, Saturday's game is not quite as bad as many people will make it out to be. Was it a bad performance? Absolutely. But these games happen every year under Dan Mullen. The team just has to learn not to play down to the opponent. Their mistakes Saturday can easily be corrected, and the expectations for this year shouldn't have changed at all. This is the best group of players Dan Mullen has had, and this is going to be a year to remember.