Primetime College Football: Tigers vs Bulldogs
This game goes down on the ESPN network and it features Auburn University Tigers taking on Mississippi State University Bulldogs in Starkville.
Mississippi State happens to be my sleeper team in the SEC this year and they are sure to awaken the rest of the conference that they are on the schedule. Head coach Dan Mullen might not have the luxury of sneaking up on opponents next year after his Bulldogs impress a lot of people this year but he will have them in prime position to compete in the SEC every week.
The Bulldogs are hoping to prevent a fifth consecutive loss to Auburn in Starkville but are hoping to use their momentum of rolling past Memphis in the opener, 49-7, while holding the Tigers to just 41 rushing yards. The Bulldogs were dominant on both sides of the ball especially in the passing game which totaled 372 yards and 5 touchdowns. Although junior Chris Relf, 7-9 116 yards 1 touchdown 1 INT, started at quarterback but freshman Tyler Russell, 13-16 256 yards and 4 touchdowns, played most of the game.
Sophomore Brandon Heavens led the receivers with 5 catches for 112 yards and 2 touchdowns and sophomore Chad Bumphis added 4 catches 100 yards 1 touchdown. Vick Ballard lead the rushing attack with 7 carries for 60 yards and 2 touchdowns as the Bulldowgs finished the game with 569 total yards.
The Tigers finished 8-5 a year ago under Gene Chizik, including an Outback Bowl victory over Northwestern but only finished 3-5 against the SEC, its second straight losing campaign. Auburn hasn’t played well on the road well over the last two years, losing seven of eight. The Tigers hope that changes and they can continue on with what they started against Arkansas State, 52-26, last weekend.
Auburn fans need to take notice that they have a stud in quarterback Cameron Newton, who arrived at Auburn this season after starting his career with Florida, then spending the 2009 season leading Blinn College to the junior college national championship. Newton, 9-14 186 yards 3 touchdowns and rushed for 171 yards 2 touchdowns, was an absolute one man show.
The Tigers did receive contributions from freshman running back Michael Dyer, 95 yards one touchdown, and senior wide receiver Mario Fannin, 4 catches 65 yards 2 touchdowns.
Defensively the Tigers allowed Arkansas State to throw for 33-49 and 323 yards while unable to create a single turnover. Senior defensive end Antoine Carter was phenomenal against Arkansas State as he recorded 3.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. It’s still unclear if Auburn will get linebacker Craig Stevens back in the lineup after he was suspended for the opener for disciplinary reasons.
Auburn owns a 58-23-2 series advantage over Mississippi State, including a 49-24 thrashing over the Bulldogs last season.
PICK: Mississippi State University Bulldogs