The Mississippi State Bulldogs face a foe in transition this Saturday as the Auburn Tigers come to Starkville after firing head coach Bryan Harsin.
By Steve Wright
Here are the three keys to a Bulldogs’ win over the Auburn Tigers:
Concentrate on the Game
It is not ideal to see your Athletic Director move to take the same role as the opponent that you are facing this weekend. That has happened here, with John Cohen moving from Mississippi State to Auburn as part of a total regime change for the Tigers. The bigger immediate change is Carnell Williams – a former star running back – replacing the fired Bryan Harsin as interim head coach. This means that the Tigers’ offense will be different, though it is hard to know exactly what Williams can install in a week. The Bulldogs have to be ready for anything.
The Bulldogs’ offense is weird. They have five games where they scored 39 points or more, yet the offense has been predictable and ineffective when playing top-level defenses. Part of the problem is the lack of a running game, while the other is the lack of a deep threat. The offense is built around short and mid-range passes breaking for big gains, but Alabama showed that a good tackling team can render that approach ineffective. Thankfully for Mississippi State, Auburn isn’t a good tackling team, so the offense should find a way to be consistent.
Get Will Rogers to 70% Completions
The play of Will Rogers is everything Mississippi State. In the five wins this season, he has 21 touchdowns and two interceptions while completing over 74% of his passes. He is also way better at home, with Rogers hitting 17 touchdowns to just one pick in Starkville. Every team plays better at home, but the Bulldogs are one of those teams that is two or three touchdowns better on their patch because of how well their quarterback plays when he is hitting his completion mark.