Do we have any shot at beating Bama? I hate it when people ask this about any sporting event. The only way we have no shot whatsoever to beat Bama is if we decide to literally not even show up for the game. Don’t get me wrong, it will take a lot for the upset to happen. Just because it is unlikely doesn’t mean it can’t happen. What would a Mississippi State win look like? I think I have an idea.
The Running Game
Mississippi State has to find a way to run the ball. It’s the only way we have a chance. The problem is this is Alabama’s primary strength. They shut down teams that like to use a typical running attack. We have to be atypical. Perkins can be effective in this game, but not as a running threat. We need a bruiser, and our bowling ball in Robinson is the only way we will have success running the ball. The speed of Alabama’s defense is going to neutralize any running threat Perkins has. Robinson has to run people over and get three or four yards a carry. This is also where Dak will play a huge role. He can punish people. Alabama has had some problems with mobile quarterbacks, but Dak has to have pinpoint accuracy in his throws for Dak to hurt him with his feet. Otherwise, Bama plays man to man all night and lets its secondary smother the receivers.
What the stats will look like: Robinson will run for 80 yards, Prescott will have over 100 yards. The team will have right around our average of 209.
The Passing Game
If we start throwing on first down a lot, we’re sunk. We also need to give the quarterbacks time to throw. Alabama doesn’t have a great pass rush. They only have three more sacks than us. Throw on third and long and just enough to keep the defense honest. Throws need to be very calculated. When we do throw, our best option is going to be De’Runnya Wilson. Jameon Lewis is without question our most productive receiver, but I think he is going to get smothered by the Bama secondary. Wilson has the size for Prescott and Russell to simply throw it up in his direction and go get it. I believe the State coaches are starting to realize the weapon they have available to them. He had his best game last week with 7 receptions for 75 yards and 2 touchdowns. We have to get him involved. That alone might open it up for Lewis to make some plays underneath in the slot.
What the stats will look like: Prescott 15-25, 175 yards. Wilson 5 catches for 80 yards and 1 TD. Lewis 4 catches for 50 yards and 1 TD.
A lot of people assume that Mississippi State doesn’t have much of a pass rush because we only have 12 sacks. That isn’t the case though. We only have a few sacks because quarterbacks have been able to exploit young, injury riddled secondary. We put pressure on quarterbacks, we just don’t always sack them. The three interceptions that we forced last week against Johnny Football were forced because our defensive line made him make some bad decisions. We have to do that against McCarron as well, but that is his biggest strength. You can call him a good game manager or whatever, but what it boils down to, he makes great decisions with the football. He has to be uncomfortable. I don’t know that we will register more than one or two sacks, but if we win, McCarron will have his head on a swivel all night long.
As far as the run defense, containment will be critical. There are numerous occasions this year where a running back broke through into the secondary and poor tackling led to big plays. Alabama actually runs the ball slightly less than us, (we rank 24th, they rank 25th) but they still run it really well. The most misleading stat is how Alabama never loses if it runs for 175 yards or more. Of course they don’t. If they run for that much it is because they have a huge lead and are trying to protect it.
What the stats will look like: McCarron throws for 150 yards and 2 INTs. The running game only gets about 150 yards.
If we get the ball inside the 30 yard line, we have to put some points on the board. I am looking at you Sobiesk and Bell.
We never trail by more than 10 points.
The crowd is enthusiastic and into the game the entire time. I won’t see any tweets about the video board.
We have to dominate the second half.
If the stats look too different from that, I don’t see us winning. Being at home helps, strange things can happen when a team goes on the road. It should be fun. Hail State!