Creating turnovers is always a huge point of emphasis for any defense. They can really swing momentum and completely change the outcome of a game. That’s because you expect your offense to be able to capitalize on those turnovers by turning them into points. Mississippi State’s defense has given the offense some golden opportunities in the first two SEC games, but the results have been horrible.
- 3rd quarter vs. Auburn; Preston Smith forces a fumble at the AU 48 yard line. Ensuing drive: 3 plays, -4 yards, punt
- 4th quarter vs. Auburn; interception by Nickoe Whitley at the AU 47. Ensuing drive: 7 plays, 12 yards, punt
- 2nd quarter vs. LSU; interception by Nickoe Whitley at the LSU 35. Ensuing drive: 4 plays, -1 yard, turnover on downs
That’s THREE turnovers IN THE OPPOSING TEAM’S TERRITORY and State did not score. The only turnover I’m leaving out in SEC play was Nickoe’s INT as time expired on the 1st half at Auburn. So these are all three of the turnovers in which the offense took the field after it occurred. All three times the defense set the offense up to hit off a tee – but no points…none.
Here are your respective play calls after each turnover…
- Handoff to Josh Robinson for a loss of 2 yards.
- Incomplete pass to Robert Johnson on an out route
- Dak Prescott rush for 8 yards
The Prescott play was a positive one, sure, but how about going deep! I mean, hasn’t Mullen ever heard of this logic: go deep right after a turnover. It’s real simple – their defense was not expecting to go back on the field so soon, so while they are scrambling to get ready to hit ‘em deep for a touchdown, or at least a big gainer. We did not do this a single time. And we aren’t talking about some stellar secondaries from Auburn and LSU this year.
It was a big blow against LSU to not get points off that turnover, but it flat out cost us the game against Auburn. Yeah there was some conservative play calls playing not to lose that hurt us, but not capitalizing off those turnovers hurt worse in my opinion. The game would have been out of reach.
State has to correct this issue. We need to be ready to go as an offense and attack a defense on their heels in transition. Turnovers are key when trying to upset someone, and when your defense delivers one, you must score.