Jackson State at Mississippi State Post-Game Wrap Up: Dawgs Take Care Of Business


Instant Analysis: As the Mississippi State Bulldogs entered their opening season game against the Jackson State Tigers, they were looking to work out the kinks and get some on-the-field work for their inexperienced players. The Bulldogs were able to follow that plan to a “t”, defeating the Tigers 56-9 in a game that was never in doubt. Tyler Russell led the way with 175 yards through the air and two touchdowns. With the victory, the Bulldogs are 1-0 on the season.

Mullen’s Statement on the Game: “It was great to be back out there playing; it was very exciting to get the guys back out there on the field. There was a great crowd in front of another sellout crowd to keep the streak alive. The excitement our fans have is always fantastic and I want to thank them as always. Next week, we will need them here bright and early, so they better get a good night sleep for next week’s 11 a.m. game. We have a lot of things we can go over and teach off of this game’s film. We have a lot of guys getting some reps and we gave a lot of guys some experience; a lot of guys got to play football on the collegiate level for the first time. A little bit of everything we can go through and teach this week, and hopefully we will see a great improvement from this game to next week’s SEC kickoff game.”

Things I Liked

A. Depth on Defense: The depth on the defensive side of the football is really what stood out to me. I haven’t seen a Mississippi State defense in a while feature this much talent. Outside of safety, every other position runs three-deep.

B. Play Calling: I finally got my wish; the coaching staff improved the play calling. Other than a few things that need to be cleaned up, the offense showed that it won’t be a liability in 2012

C. New Uniforms: I really liked the new uniforms; the Bulldogs are finally moving into a new age with their style. It helps with their image more than people realize.

Things I Didn’t Like

A. Zone Coverage: This may have been a first game scheme, but I really didn’t like the zone defense the Bulldogs employed most of the game. It doesn’t make a lot of sense with Darius Slay and Johnthan Banks on the outside.

Key Stats

A. MSU Time of Possession – 32:31: It’s good to see Mississippi State controlling the ball, after the team used the no-huddle all last season, which allowed opponents to dominate the clock.

B. MSU 6-for-6 In Red-Zone: Although it was against Jackson State, it was good to see the Bulldogs score every time they got in the red zone.

C. One Sack by A DE: Denico Autry, the Bulldogs much-hyped junior college transfer, was able to get to the quarterback early in the game. He will supply the edge-rushing that has been missing the past four seasons.

Players to Watch


A. Joseph Lebeau: Lebeau had a solid day with five tackles; he didn’t get to Mississippi State’s quarterbacks, which is his specialty.

B. Qua Cox: Cox had a nice day as well; he had five tackles and two pass break-ups.

C. Rico Richardson: Richardson may have had the best day of any Tiger–with seven catches for 95 yards.


A. Tyler Russell: Russell had a few bad reads, but he had a good day overall; in addition to his throwing numbers, he had a nice scramble for a first down.

Mullen’s Statement on Russell’s Performance: “I think there are some things we have to improve on. He wasn’t as sharp as I would have liked to have seen him. Tyler played well but I expect him to be even sharper. Just being sharper on his reads, because I thought he was trying to do a little too much out there. He just needs to run the offense and we will be okay.”

B. Devon Bell: I thought Bell did a nice job on kickoffs, but he missed his only field goal try. It will be interesting to see if Mullen goes with him again next week.

C. Blaine Clausell: Clausell looked really good protecting Russell’s blindside. Next week’s match-up versus Auburn, though, will be his first real test.

3 Keys to Victory


A. Unleash The Tigers: I thought the Tigers took a few shots, but they were just overmatched Saturday night.

B. Don’t Get Rattled: The Tigers competed, but again, the Bulldogs were just better.

C. Capitalize on Turnovers: The Bulldogs only had one fumble and recovered it.


A. Send A Message: They could have scored more, but I felt they accomplished what they needed to in the game.

B. Get Young Players Reps: They were able to get their younger players reps, which should benefit them as the season goes along.

C. Be Efficient: Other than a few slip ups, the offense really looked smooth last night. It looks exponentially better than last season.

Final Analysis: With the Jackson State game out of the way, the Bulldogs will now turn their attention to the Auburn Tigers; it will be their first real test of the young season. The game presents the Bulldogs with a chance to see how good they really are in 2012. The game will be nationally televised by ESPN, with an 11 a.m. kickoff time.

Real Story Player of the Game

Matthew Wells: It’s hard to choose a player of the game when players don’t get extended playing time, but I thought Matt Wells had a big day, with five tackles, a sack and a pick-6. “I was in a great spot. The defensive line put some great pressure on the quarterback. I knew when I caught the ball I was going for a touchdown,” said Wells, regarding his interception.

Jeremiah Short covers Mississippi State University football and basketball.  Follow him on Twitter, @DaRealJShort; join his Facebook blog, Real Story Sports: J.Short’s Blog, or e-mail him, JShort@realstorypublishing.com.


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  1. maroonandwhitenation.com » Wrapping up Week 1 - September 4, 2012

    […] State took care of business against the Tigers. […]

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