Mississippi State has posted 2 wins and 2 losses, 1 and 1 in Southeastern Conference play. The Bulldogs are well rested following an open date and are getting ready to make a run at the SEC title. Mississippi State will have the home field advantage beginning 11:00 a.m. Saturday, a date with the 3 and 2 Auburn Tigers. Auburn is also 1 and 1 in conference play.
Coach Dan Mullen said, "We are excited to get back into a game week. We are excited to have a home game. We have not had a home game in a while. The last two were on the road and then last week was a bye week so it is good to get a home game. It is a big game obviously in conference for us with where we are right now being 1-1 in the SEC so this is a huge game for us. Obviously, it is a big challenge playing Auburn which is a very good football team. When you look at what they have done, they are throwing the ball in the end zone which the chance to beat Clemson earlier in the year. Big win over LSU, a couple of big blowout wins. They are an excellent football team and we are going to have to come out and play at a high level in all three phases. They have talent across the board. They have talented players on the field. It will be a great challenge for our guys if we come out and respond from having a bye week and just have a great week.”
Auburn crushed UL-Monroe 58-7 on Saturday. Tigers quarterback Sean White passed for 239 yards and two touchdowns and Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson rushed for 146 yards and two scores.
Coach Mullen says the Tigers are going with White and his Bulldogs defense must be ready for the run and the pass.
“If you watch game one, they rotated a lot. They played all different quarterbacks and rolled in, "stated Mullen. "It looks like they have settled on Sean White and I think that gives him some confidence out there on the field. He has been in the system a little longer and I think he understand the offense and they are going to build around his strengths. They are going to do things around what he does well and you have seen him when they do that. Like all of us, you kind of get a couple of weeks in the season and you are trying to see what direction, what type of team you are going to have this year then you start building in that direction. They have been able to put together some of the things he does well and been able to execute good decision making to make him an accurate passer, very willing runner. It may not be the game breaker that some guys are. Auburn reminds me a lot of how Dak Prescott was a runner for us. He is going to go get you some tough gritty yards when he needs to and can extend plays and make things happen with his legs when he needs to.”
The Auburn Tigers defense has been playing well this season especially the defensive line.
Mullen said, “They have a great defensive front. No. 1 (Montravius Adams) for them, who would have easily been a first round draft pick for the last year, is back. To have a guy like that back, that sets the tone. Defensive end No. 55 (Carl Lawson) is healthy. They also have a couple guys who are top recruits in the country; a lot of talent that way helps. They have some great corners outside on the edge to shut you down. If you can shut down and have great defensive coverage, you are going to be pretty salty on D.”
Coach Mullen says the Mississippi State defensive line is going to have to provide pass protection for quarterback Fitzgerald on third downs.
“You have to execute, "stated Mullen. "They can play great coverage on the back end and they can really rush the passer with a bunch of great defensive linemen. You have to be able to protect a little bit and you have to get open. We practice it a lot in situations.”
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