Crimson Tide Too Much For Bulldogs

November 13, 2011

News, Sports

 Mississippi State-Alabama Review

Alabama @ Mississippi State

Alabama @ Mississippi State

Instant Analysis: The Mississippi State Bulldogs came into their ESPN Primetime game against Alabama looking for their first statement victory of the Mullen Era. The Bulldogs gave Alabama everything that they could, but ultimately the #3 ranked Crimson Tide was too much, defeating the Bulldogs 24-7. The Bulldogs must now get ready to play the Arkansas Razorbacks in War Memorial Stadium at Little Rock, AR. Arkansas is currently ranked number six in the AP poll.

Things I Liked

Russell’s Game Management:  I’ve long been Russell’s harshest critic, but I was impressed by his game management. It’s never been about the numbers to me, but I have criticized his ability to lead a team and take what defenses give him. He effectively did that versus Alabama and had a few nice drives.

Defense:  I was really pleased at how the defense played. They did a great job of swarming to the ball and laying big licks.

Emory Formation:  I’ve never liked how Mullen won’t deviate from the spread and do something wacky. He finally did that against Alabama, and I thought it sparked a solid drive.

Favre’s Spark:  I’ve always said that Favre had a swagger about himself, and I thought his insertion in the game gave some more pep to the team. I know most believe Russell is the future, but I will tell everyone do not, I repeat, do not count Favre out.  He may be undersized, but this kid is a ball player.

Things I Didn’t Like

QB Change:  Mullen putting Relf in when Russell was moving the ball downfield in the middle of positive momentum was baffling at best.  Maybe he wanted to be able to say he played three quarterbacks in one drive or something.

Mental Errors in the First Half:  The team played clean football in the second half, but State’s first half miscues came at some fairly critical moments.

Field Goal Kicking:  I never would have thought that Derek DePasquale would have gotten a case of the yips.  He seems to have lost something the past few games.

Key Stats

Bama’s 129 4th Quarter Rushing Yards: The Bulldogs shut down Alabama the first three quarters, but the Crimson Tide asserted their dominance in the fourth quarter and put the Bulldogs away.

MSU Offense – 23:49 Time Of Possession:  Alabama controlled the time of possession and eventually wore down the Bulldogs.

MSU Starting DL – 24 Tackles: The starting defensive line led by Fletcher Cox and Josh Boyd played big last night. The only problem is that they can’t rotate more because of the drop-off in talent, and Mississippi State’s offense left them on the field for too long.

Players To Watch


Trent Richardson:  Richardson was shut down the first three quarters but turned it on in the fourth quarter along with Eddie Lacy.

A.J. McCarron:  McCarron did a solid job of game management, although he did throw the one interception, which was picked off by Cameron Lawrence for 31 yards.

Courtney Upshaw:  Upshaw didn’t have a monster game, but he did sack Relf early in the first quarter and also scared James Carmon into three false starts in the first half.

Mississippi State

Chris Relf:  Relf started but never got much going the series he was in.

Fletcher Cox and Josh Boyd:  They combined for 15 tackles with Boyd totaling 11.

Deontae Skinner:  Skinner had seven assisted tackles and one solo tackle for a loss.

Three Keys To Victory


Stop The Option:  They not only stopped the option… the Tide destroyed it.

Fluster MSU’s QBs:  I don’t think they flustered the quarterbacks much, but they did tally five sacks.

Make Field Goals:  They continued to struggle in the kicking game, only connecting on one of three field goals.

Mississippi State

Play Error-Free Game:  They made some mental errors in the first half but played mostly error-free football in the second half.

Ball Control:  The Bulldogs attempted to control the clock, but it’s kinda hard to do that versus the Crimson Tide’s elite defense.

Load The Box:  They loaded the box and it was effective, stopping the run until the fourth quarter.

Final Analysis:  The Bulldogs must get over another tough loss as they get set to face the Razorbacks, who have one of the most potent passing offenses in the nation.  The Bulldogs are one game away from bowl eligibility.  Upsetting the Razorbacks would put them in position to finish their season 7-5. I think that would put them in position to get a decent bowl, with so many other SEC teams struggling in 2011.


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