The SEC Western Division Bulldogs of Mississippi State University played a tremendous game last week against the LSU Tigers but lost 30 to 26 when they were unable to punch it in from the 1 yard line. It is always hard to assess how a team will respond after a demoralizing loss, however, that is why they play the games. Every Saturday and Thursday is always an adventure in the world of college football. Just ask Mississippi, California, Miami, and Penn State.
Just like we bounced back against North Carolina, I expect Mississippi State to come out with their “A” game this Saturday night in Starkville. Unlike North Carolina, I have not seen any discussions from the Bulldogs about how they will stuff the Tech offense this game. This should be a tough hard fought game between two squads who are both beginning a new era under recently hired coaching staffs. Georgia Tech has already benefitted from its first year under the Paul Johnson triple option system, and I expect that Mississippi State is at the same place in their first year under Dan Mullen who came over from the Gators.
The Bulldogs are running the Urban Meyer Florida shotgun spread offense and averaging around 200 yards on the ground. They have a very good back in Anthony Dixon who checks in around 235. He actually ran for just over 100 yards in last season’s 38 to 7 loss to the jackets. The Mississippi State team has already improved by going on the road and defeating Vanderbilt 15 to 3 early in the season. Anytime you can win a game on the road, regardless of the opponent, that is quite an accomplishment.
With all of the talk out there in the media that this is a “trap” game for Georgia Tech, nothing could be further from the truth. Tech is not looking ahead to anyone on their schedule. However, they are looking ahead to playing the rest of their schedule on a Saturday format. Frankly, now that the team has had an opportunity to regain their legs, they should be playing quite well going forward.
Mississippi State has the usual compliment of tough defenders on their squad, so I’m expecting a physical game up front in the trenches for the offensive line. However, our line has played against some pretty stout defenders with Clemson, Miami, and North Carolina thus far, and I see no reason why we can’t continue to move the ball as we have on the ground. I’m categorizing the Miami game as a loss due to the fatigue from the shortened schedule. Other than that loss, the team has performed well on the ground.
I liked the intensity that was present at the last game, and I’m confident that Paul Johnson will keep the squad focused and moving in the right direction this game. This should be a good test on the road against an SEC team.