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A Tough Road Trip to Starkville (Previewing Auburn at Mississippi State football)

By on June 22nd, 2018 in Football Comment »

Mississippi State has typically been much tougher at home
(Photo by Acid Reign)

     War Eagle, everybody! It’s time now for the another Auburn game preview! On October 6th, Auburn will visit the Mississippi State Bulldogs. The last 2 seasons, Auburn crushed Mississippi State by scores of 38–14 in Starkville and 49–10 in Auburn. Last year’s blowout was Auburn’s biggest margin over the Bulldogs since 1970 and the Pat Sullivan era.

     The biggest loss for the Bulldogs during this offseason was head coach Dan Mullen, who left to take the top job at Florida. Mullen’s record at Mississippi State was unprecedented, although he did not win any championships. Still, he had this team bowling every year in the toughest division in football. He did a great job of building the MSU brand with his sometimes over the top enthusiasm. His teams played tough and usually above their aggregate star ratings.

     All is not lost, however. MSU made one of the more interesting replacement hires, bringing in Joe Moorhead to coach this team. Moorhead spent the last 2 years as the offensive coordinator at Penn State, and his high-scoring attack made running back Saquon Barkley a household name. Moorhead’s offensive system has been successful at every stop, and he even has head coaching experience and success at Fordham. Mississippi State returns nearly every player of consequence from last season, and Moorhead has a great chance to jump in and have the team play at a high level. If there is a worry about this hire, it would be down the road a few years in recruiting.

     Mississippi State opens the season hosting Stephen F. Austin, then travels to Manhattan, Kansas to take on the K-State Wildcats. The Bulldogs recover at home with Louisiana, then travel to Lexington, Kentucky. Florida has a visit in Starkville before Auburn comes to town. Here’s hoping several physical games have the Bulldogs worn down a bit. Auburn will have played Washington in Atlanta and hosted Alabama State, LSU, Arkansas and Southern Miss before traveling to Mississippi State. The Bulldogs will face a very battle-tested Auburn squad.

     Coach Moorhead will have a chance to start with a bang on offense. Mississippi State returns big quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, who’s one of the more dangerous signal callers in the SEC. Four of five linemen return as well as ace runner Aeris Williams. Where Mississippi State was questionable last season was at the receiver positions. No MSU receiver caught more than 27 balls last season, and the 11.4 yards per catch stat is on the low side. Mississippi State as a team completed only 54 percent of its passes for 6.1 yards per catch.

     Defensively, coordinator Bob Shoop should have talent to work with at every level. Shoop is an interesting hire, a guy with SEC experience. Shoop put together some good defenses with James Franklin at Vanderbilt a few years ago, followed Franklin to Penn State and did well there also. The last 2 seasons, Shoop was the defensive coordinator at Tennessee, and well… last year’s Tennessee defense was absolutely awful. Shoop prefers to run a 4–2–5 defense, which will be a bit different from last year’s 3–4 Todd Grantham look.

     It’s hard to compare special teams units when a new coaching staff comes in that may do things completely differently. Things are further complicated because Auburn has shifted special teams responsibilties around as well. Both units may turn out very differently this year. Mississippi State returns a good kicker but has to find a new starting punter. Mississippi State has veteran return men and was good on both coverage units last season.

Unit matchups after the jump!


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Nostalgia Friday: 1986 Iron Bowl

By on June 22nd, 2018 in Football, Memories 8 Comments »
Today we bring back an old feature called Nostalgia Friday. Each week at this time we’ll look back at video of a famous Auburn win.What better game to start with than the 1986 Iron Bowl, better known as the “Tillman Reverse To Victory.” With 32 seconds to go in the game, Lawyer Tillman's 8-yard reverse gave the Tigers a ... Read Full Story

2018 NCAA Rule Changes—The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

By on June 18th, 2018 in Football, News 14 Comments »
It's that time of year when the NCAA passes rule changes to clear up muddy college athletics. In the last few days and weeks there have been several controversial moves that could possibly have a big impact on college football.As one who doesn't like to see a lot of  changes, I have to admit some are good for the game. Take for... Read Full Story

Auburn Basketball Retools and Reloads

By on June 14th, 2018 in Basketball, News 11 Comments »
For just a moment, things looked very bleak to Auburn basketball. Over the course of a few days, Auburn was looking to field an entire new team when players tested the NBA waters. Like all teams that experience success, Auburn faced the possibility of rebuilding a roster as Mustapha Heron, Bryce Brown, Jared Harper, and Austin W... Read Full Story

Auburn Did Everything It Could to Make it to Omaha—Despite the Actions of the Selection Committee

By on June 12th, 2018 in Baseball, News 11 Comments »
If you’re a baseball purist, you had to love the display put on by Auburn and Florida Monday night. The third game of the Gainesville Super Regional had everything from great pitching to clutch hits to base stealing gems to highlight-reel defensive plays. It had it all. It was a thing of beauty—except for the ending if you... Read Full Story

Auburn Stays Alive, Forces Super Regional Winner-Take-All Game Monday

By on June 10th, 2018 in Baseball, News 6 Comments »
With their backs to the wall after dropping the first game of the Gainesville Super Regional, the Auburn baseball team downed No. 1 Florida today at McKethan Stadium. And, they did it in dramatic fashion.Standing at the plate in the ninth inning with the score tied at 2-all and two men on, Auburn's Luke Jarvis drove the first pi... Read Full Story

A Battle of Eagles! (Previewing Auburn hosting Southern Mississippi)

By on June 8th, 2018 in Football, News 3 Comments »
It has been a decade since these two teams met (Photo by Acid Reign)     War Eagle, everybody! It's time now for the another Auburn game preview! On September 29th, Auburn will host the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles. This is a game Auburn should win, but after Auburn got decked in back-to-back years by this school in 19... Read Full Story

Midweek Ramblings From The Plains

Like a fired coach who feels like he's still got some years left to contribute, former Auburn Athletics Director Jay Jacobs is staying in administration of college athletics. Jacobs, who was allowed to retire this spring after scandal rocked the men's basketball and women's softball programs, has accepted the executive associate... Read Full Story

Auburn, NCAA Regional Champs!

By on June 4th, 2018 in Baseball, News 6 Comments »
Last week after hearing Auburn would be playing in the Raleigh Regional, Coach Butch Thompson said , “We want to finish a tournament and be the last one left standing.” The Tigers gave their coach  his wish in a big way on Sunday by defeating host North Carolina State 15–7.  Auburn (42–21) swept through the Regional un... Read Full Story

A Visit from the Razorbacks (Previewing Arkansas at Auburn)

By on May 31st, 2018 in Football 6 Comments »
This may be one of the harder teams to figure out, this year      War Eagle, everybody! It's time now for the another Auburn SEC game preview! On September 22nd, Auburn will host the Arkansas Razorbacks at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The last couple of seasons, Auburn has totally destroyed Arkansas, 56–3 in Auburn and 52–20 in ... Read Full Story

Stidham Snubbed in Preseason Awards

By on May 30th, 2018 in Football, News 8 Comments »
There are under 100 days left before college football returns, and the return of summer means preseason magazines. There are a handful of "respected" magazines such as Lindy's and Street and Smith's, but perhaps the most respected among them, and typically the first to hit the shelves, is Athlon Sports & Life. In these magaz... Read Full Story

Auburn Snubbed by NCAA Selection Committee, Looks to be Last Team Standing in Raleigh Regional

By on May 28th, 2018 in Baseball, News 9 Comments »
For the second consecutive year Auburn baseball will play in an NCAA regional. The NCAA Selection Committee announced today the Tigers will be the No. 2 seed at the Raleigh Regional. The Tigers will face No. 3 seed Northeastern in their opening game on Friday. No. 4 army will play No. 1 seed NC State in the second game.It's an i... Read Full Story

Memorial Day 2018—We Choose Never To Forget Their Sacrifice

By on May 28th, 2018 in Memories, News 2 Comments »
Today is a day we choose to remember those that have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our freedoms, our way of life, and our country.There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. God bless our fallen heroes, God bless those in harms way today, and God bless the USA!                ... Read Full Story

Auburn Baseball – Ole Miss, again. Well, that didn’t go well…

By on May 25th, 2018 in Baseball, News 7 Comments »
Here we go again. After a stumble to aTm, our Tigers yet again square off against Ole Miss. But we have rain and, as such, a delay in the start of this game against the Rebels.We will provide updates as we have them. The SEC has stated that the plan is to get the games in today, but Mother Nature reigns supreme, so we shall see.... Read Full Story

Tigers Bump Ole Miss—Advance to SEC Tourney Winner’s Bracket (UPDATE: A&M 4 AU 2, but Tigers still in it)

By on May 23rd, 2018 in Baseball, News 5 Comments »
For the first time since 2003 Auburn has won two games in the SEC Tournament as the Tigers (39–19, 17–15 SEC) defeated Ole Miss (42–15, 19–13 SEC) 9–3 Wednesday. Auburn now advances to the winner's bracket and will face Texas A&M (38–19, 14–17 SEC) Thursday at 4:30 p.m. CT.The No. 21 Tigers trailed the Rebels 2... Read Full Story

Auburn Freshman Delivers Biggest Hit of His Life to Advance Tigers in SEC Tournament

By on May 23rd, 2018 in Baseball, News 12 Comments »
"I just wanted to put the ball in play, anything that could've helped the team win." And Auburn's Edouard Julien did just that in the Tiger's SEC Tournament victory over Kentucky Tuesday.Leading 3–2 in the ninth inning Auburn appeared to be on its way to an opening round victory when the Wildcats forced extra innings. Then in ... Read Full Story

Auburn Softball Review: Season Ends in Regionals, Tigers Look to Future

By on May 22nd, 2018 in News, Other Sports 7 Comments »
It’s been a tough few days to be an Auburn softball fan. The entire Southeastern Conference made it to regional play with nine of the SEC teams hosting regionals. But for the first time in several years, Auburn wasn't one of them. The Tigers sat just outside the Top 16 and had a chance in the last week of play and possibly the... Read Full Story

This and That for Your Weekend

By on May 18th, 2018 in Football 5 Comments »
I expect a big year for Auburn football (Photo by Acid Reign)     War Eagle, everybody! We'll take a break this week from the preview business, and take a look around the Auburn sports world. Next week, I'll get back to Auburn's opponents, when Auburn hosts a rebuilding Arkansas team in week 4. This week will be a more laidb... Read Full Story

Intercollegiate Athletics Has Lost a Giant and the SEC a Legend

By on May 16th, 2018 in Football, News 8 Comments »
Mike Slive, the man who almost single-handedly changed the face of intercollegiate athletics, has passed away. He was commissioner of the Southeastern Conference from 2002 to 2015, but his influence reached further than just the footprint of the 14-member league. He set the standard for other leagues when he negotiated huge tel... Read Full Story

Auburn Softball Begins NCAA Regionals—Tiger Baseball Destination May Be Determined This Weekend

The Southeastern Conference is known nationally as a powerhouse football conference, however, the SEC is also one of the toughest softball leagues in the nation. Proof of that came Sunday when for the second straight year the SEC placed all 13 teams in the NCAA Tournament.Yet, for the first time in four years, Auburn (40–15) w... Read Full Story

Tigers vs. Tigers at Jordan-Hare! (Previewing Auburn’s SEC opening matchup against the LSU Tigers)

By on May 11th, 2018 in Football 6 Comments »
A titanic war in the trenches awaits!(Photo by Acid Reign)     War Eagle, everybody! It's time now for the first Auburn SEC game preview of the year! On September 15th, Auburn will host the LSU Tigers in the SEC opener for both teams. This is an important battle in a loaded SEC Western Division. Last year, LSU nipped Auburn ... Read Full Story