Tigers Host the Bulldogs!
Auburn must slow down the Mississippi State rushing attack
(Photo by Keith Warren USA Today Sports)
War Eagle, everybody! This week the Auburn Tigers return to Jordan-Hare Stadium for their SEC home opener. The Bulldogs come into this game at 3–1, and are looking for their first win over top-ten competition against the Auburn Tigers. After the game against Auburn, the Bulldogs will have a bye week before heading to Knoxville, Tennessee. Mississippi State opened in New Orleans against the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns, winning 38–28. Next up was Southern Mississippi in Starkville where the Bulldogs won handily, 38–15. The next week in Starkville, Kansas State came to town and knocked off the Bulldogs 31–24. Mississippi State recovered last weekend, beating Kentucky 28–13.
Auburn has been stubborn about running the ball against big blitzes and attacking defenses this season, and I think they will continue that strategy against Mississippi State. Auburn had great success early running wide on sweeps and taking advantage of their own tendencies in order to catch Texas A&M off guard. Like Texas A&M, Mississippi State likes to attack on defense and force mistakes. The Bulldog defense has forced 11 turnovers this season, and those players would love nothing more than to take the ball away from Auburn a few times and silence the crowd on the road.
Defensively, Mississippi State is not nearly the force that it was last season, and Auburn should have a better outing than the Tigers had a year ago. In each of the first 4 Bulldog games, they have given up 110 or more rushing yards with the low being against Southern Miss. Kentucky averaged 5.5 yards per carry against this defense.
Defensively, Auburn has to stop the running of ace back Kylin Hill and contain mobile freshman quarterback Garrett Schrader. Last year, Mississippi State lined up in the shotgun most of the time and brought a motion man across, stringing Auburn out wide and wearing out the Tigers defense. The Bulldogs had over 300 rushing yards in that one and beat Auburn 23–9. I fully expect the Bulldogs to try this again as no team this season has had much success lining up and running right at Auburn’s middle.
The weather should be hot again. It is expected to be around 90º at kickoff, falling through the 80’s as the evening progresses. There is no chance of rain, and skies should be clear. We will have our usual Trackemtigers.com Open Thread up and running for this one, but I will be late, arriving for this play by play some time in the 2nd quarter. The game will kick off a little after 6:00 PM, Central Daylight Time, and will be televised on ESPN.
A look at other SEC games this weekend after the jump!
There are only a couple of early matchups this week in the SEC. Texas A&M visits Arkansas and should handle that game with ease.
Also at 11:00 AM Central Time, Vanderbilt hosts Northern Illinois. I’ve seen predictions of a blowout in this one, but the Huskies are typically one of the better MAC teams. Vanderbilt has not won yet this season and really hasn’t even been able to play anyone close. I see a possible dogfight in this matchup.
Ole Miss visits Alabama in the CBS game at 2:30 PM CDT. This one got picked as the SEC game of the week as there aren’t really any marquee matchups this Saturday. Alabama should be able to score at will in this one.
Towson visits Florida in the 3:00 PM time slot. The Gators will use this game as a tuneup before Auburn visits the following Saturday.
Auburn and Mississippi State kick off the evening action at 6:00 PM. Here is hoping that a raucous home crowd makes things very difficult for the Bulldogs.
At 6:30 PM, Kentucky visits South Carolina. The loser of this game will have a tough task ahead even to make a bowl game.
Bye weeks begin in earnest in the SEC this week. Enjoying time off are Missouri, Georgia, Tennessee, and LSU.