Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Game 11 Preview: Mississippi State Bulldogs

Starkville, MS is a beautiful town. No I am kidding Starkville is horrible, but it is home to our next opponent the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Coming off a Liberty Bowl appearance last year the hype around Bulldog football was a little higher than normal this preseason but these Dogs have failed to live up to the hype.

Sly Croom's team enters this matchup riding a two game winning streak against Alabama but this is a different year. This State team is 3-6 overall and 1-4 in the SEC. The lone SEC victory came against Vanderbilt at home a few weeks back 17-14. That lost started a current four game losing streak for the Dores. The problem for State has not been on the defensive side of the ball but putting points on the board.

34 points is the highest point total of the season and that came against football superpower Southeastern Louisiana. State is yet to break the 25 point barrier against a SEC defense. On the flip side their defense is fairly stout as evident by their 3-2 classic against a potent Auburn offense earlier in the year. On offense the Bulldogs are led by QB Tyson Lee who enters the game completing 114 or 183 passes for 1119 yards and 4 touchdowns. 4 touchdowns for your QB through 10 games is not a good sign. Their best returning skill player coming into the year was RB Anthony Dixon but he has had a disappointing year with 647 yards and 6 touchdowns on 155 carries. To compare those stats to Alabama's RB, Glen Coffee enters the game with 1020 yards and freshman Mark Ingram has 539. Both of Bama's RB enter the game with 8 touchdowns.
On the defensive side of the ball Starkville's finest is often put in terrible spots by the offense. The defense is giving up an average of 21 points per game but the Dogs only average 16 points per game. Ouch.

In his Tuesday press conference, Mississippi State head coach Slyvester Croom (pictured below in a stunning leather jacket) knows the opportunity his team has.

"It's a great opportunity for us as a football team," Croom said. "It's rare that you get a chance to play the No. 1 team in the country during the course of the season. That opportunity has been afforded us and we're going to prepare as best as we possibly can and go over there and play as well as we possibly can in the hopes of winning a game, on the road, in Tuscaloosa, against the No. 1 team in the country."

A win over # 1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa would make State's season. It would make their third win in a row over the Crimson Tide and would put Croom (a Tuscaloosa native) back in brighter light in Starkville. Fortunately for us, it shouldn't happen. The last two seasons turnovers have doomed the Tide in this game. If we run the ball and play defense like we have all year and do not give the Bulldogs easy points we will win this game. Alabama is on a mission to make the national title game and will not overlook this team.

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