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September 29, 2011

Mississippi State - 3 Questions

Unlike other games this season, there were way more than 3 questions rolling around in my head.  This article literally could have been 13 questions.  It took some doing to get this down to just three.
  1. Does last year's loss, and all the malaise that resulted from it, play into the game this year? Other than the Florida game, which is too much of a long term pattern to be mere coincidence, I don't put too much stock into what happened last time we played some one.  Sure, there are lessons to be learned, but on the mental side of the equation, the games are independent events with independent actors.  For whatever reason, I don't think that is the case this year.  Way more than Georgia's pride was wounded by the loss in Starkevegas. The 2010 Georgia Bulldogs will to fight was demolished.  Does that mean anything this year?  I hope so.  There is no doubt this team plays with more passion and want to than last year's team did.  I think we'll see that translated into much more level headed, and hard nosed, play this week.
  2. Can we make Relf look like he did against LSU? I am not saying our defense is as good, fast or strong as LSU's.  The level of their competition is higher, to this point in the season, than ours.  I am saying that in order to be assured a win, we have to hold Mississippi State to under 250 yards offense.  I worry about our defense's ability to edge contain. Last year, we didn't contain him (or Ballard, for that matter) at all, allowing Relf 107 yards rushing on 20 carries.  We have to make him make tough decisions and do so often enough that his first thought is 'get the ball to Ballard because one of these big mofos is about to treat me like the pretty girl in her first day on the cellblock.'  Relf's confidence is as shaky as a Jim Donnan investment scheme.  We have to shatter it.
  3. Can we game plan competently enough on offense to counteract Mississippi State's very active defense? Think back to the Boise State game.  Spit the throw up out of your mouth.  Now remember their defense bring pressure from everywhere, even from seemingly behind Murray.  That is what we'll see from Mississippi State.  Now, last season, we handled that well enough...until we got close to the goal line.  Just to refresh your memory, we settled for two short field goals in the second quarter.  We put either or both of those into the end zone, we have a different game.  However, going back to the issues discussed in question one, can we do that this year?  With the TEs and FBs, coupled with a much better running back option, I think we can.  We have to be able to for a win.
Look, if we lose to Mississippi State again, the sky will be falling again.  If we win, we will have beaten a 2-3 (0-3) team that needed a miracle to beat LaTech.  I don't believe a win, other than another total domination game, changes the fans' mind set.  I do believe it changes the emotional and mental state of the team for the rest of the season.



Chris said...

In reference to your third point, we've had issues in the red zone this season. How many times were we stopped on drives this past weekend and had to settle for a field goal attempt? I'm not as hopeful as you are that we can score after driving the field.

Tyler Dawgden said...


That was question 4. I have confidence that if we need to score a TD, we can. I just wished the play caller viewed anytime we are in FG position as those times. He doesn't.

Ole Miss couldn't stop the fade pattern to Orson or the swing pass to either Figgins or Crowell/Samuel. I don't think MSU will be able to either. Regretfully, we don't always go to the plays that work when we need them.

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