A Must Win Game for Auburn.
Bulldogs attempt to block Auburn from a winning season.
War Eagle, everybody! It’s SEC opener week for Auburn, Saturday in Starkville. The Tigers take on Mississippi State at Davis Wade Stadium at 11:00 AM Central Time, on ESPN. This is an absolutely pivital match up for Auburn. A loss would start Auburn in the cellar of the SEC Western Division, and would make a run to a bowl game a difficult proposition.
Auburn plays three home games after this one, against Louisiana Monroe, LSU and Arkansas, next. Should the Tigers lose to Mississippi State, there’s the distinct possibility that Auburn could begin the season with a 1-4 record. That has not happened since the second year of Shug Jordan’s tenure, in 1952. That Tiger team started 1-4, and finished the season at 2-8.
Auburn and Mississippi State have tangled the past two years in nail-biting, down to the wire games. This year may be no different, although in my mind things could go either way. If Auburn’s defense tackles like they did in the Clemson game, Mississippi State has weapons like Chad Bumphis and LaDarius Perkins who can make big plays, just like Andre Ellington did last weekend.
From where I sit, it looks like Mississippi State has similar problems with their young defensive front. The Bulldogs blew out the Jackson State 56-9, but allowed 156 rushing yards to the FCS team, and generated only 377 total yards on offense. It’s imperative this week for the Tigers to run the ball well again, and avoid getting into long yardage situations with bad throws and penalties. The Tiger defense must take better angles, and stop the Bulldog skill people. Mississippi State has a spread-to-run offense not terribly different from Clemson’s, and they’ll likely try to exploit the same weak spots.
Bulldog quarterback Tyler Russell is a good passer, and contrary to popular belief, he can hurt a defense with his feet. It’s imperative that Auburn put a good rush on him, and contain better than they did against Tajh Boyd the first week. Should the Tigers pressure, tackle better, and continue to run the ball well, this could be a double-digit Auburn win.
The weather looks mild for this morning kickoff, but there may be thunderstorms as a cold front blows through during the game. The temperature should struggle to even make 80 degrees, and the day will be partly cloudy.
We’ll have our usual open thread ready for this game, on Saturday morning, but I won’t be doing my usual play-by-play. I’ll be in Davis Wade stadium, cheering on the Tigers, and hoping to get some good pictures. I should have a post-game analysis ready Sunday afternoon, hopefully celebrating a big Auburn win. War Eagle, everybody! Beat the Bulldogs!