Mississippi State Preview: The Better Team Wins
Mississippi State started off on fire with a huge win at LSU. As we know now, that win meant nothing regardless of how Mississippi State turned out this season. That said, there have been multiple occasions that I have forgotten that the Maroons fielded a team this season.
The Maroons have fallen off the radar since that first game. They lost to Arkansas before Arkansas was SO GOOD. Their high-flying offense that made LSU look silly amassed only two points against Kentucky. Then it was a respectable 28-14 loss to Texas A&M, a blowout at Alabama, a one touchdown win over the worst team in the SEC (Vandy), but then one touchdown losses to Georgia and Ole Miss. Mind you, this was in the middle of Georgia not having a clue what to do on offense.
Aside from many forgettable losses, the Maroons have had games postponed multiple times, including what should have been Auburn’s lead up game to Tennessee, Alabama, and Texas A&M when they were playing their best. Instead Auburn had a two week layoff, struggled to put away Tennessee, and you know what happened the next two weeks. So basically, we can blame Mississippi State’s inability to control COVID-19 outbreaks for Auburn’s recent struggles. They stopped the Tigers’ mojo.
But really, despite their 2-6 record, Mississippi State only has one blowout on their resumé, and that was at Alabama. I guess the next worst would be the 24-2 loss to Kentucky back in early October, but that’s it. The rest of their losses have been by 7 or 14 points.
We know this, but Mississippi State does not run the ball. They have 190 rushing yards on the entire season. Their best player and running back left the team. They just don’t even try. That’s Mike Leach. He’s a genius (despite football success), and he’s crunched the numbers and found that throwing the ball more should result in more points. It’s like Auburn’s basketball team not even trying to shoot inside the line. 3>2.
But for the air raid to be success, it needs to be run by players you may have seen at Florida in the mid 90’s, not players you see at Mississippi State. Either way, it’s like a hurry up offense. It’s somewhat of an equalizer. If people are running around the field all day, people get tired, someone finally gets open, and there’s a touchdown.
But there’s a reason Mississippi State is 2-6. They aren’t built for this system and their best and older players ain’t feeling it. However, given their last two games were only one touchdown losses against Georgia and Ole Miss, it makes me believe that they are playing a little better because guys that want this to work are now playing.
So what will we see in Starkville? I know I’ve seen some mediocre Mississippi State teams beat Auburn, acting like it was their Super Bowl. I don’t think we’ll get that this year, but I don’t expect it to look like Auburn playing a 2-6 team with nothing to play for and the end of the season on the horizon.
Auburn will get up 14. Mississippi State will fight back before the half to get it to 14-10. But in the 3rd quarter, Auburn will bust it open. The better team wins most of the time. The better team did not win in Auburn’s only bad loss of the season. The better team won’t let that happen again today.
Auburn 31, Mississippi State 17