Nov 16, 2013; Starkville, MS, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs quarterback Tyler Russell (17) passes the ball during the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Davis Wade Stadium. Alabama Crimson Tide defeat the Mississippi State Bulldogs with a score of 20-7. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama Game Review

After losing to #1 Alabama 20-7, Mississippi State is now 4-6 on the year. The Bulldogs lose their 3rd straight game – all to ranked opponents – and in each game they were plagued by major gaffes that cost them dearly, and could have potentially won without a few of them.

If you had told me we could get Bama to turn the ball over 4 times, hold them to only 383 total yards and they’d commit 5 times as many penalties as MSU I’d say that is the exact recipe for success we need, and our chances to win the game would be pretty good. Well, that’s what we got but we were unable to achieve the upset.

First off – great game by the defense. This group has played excellent in these last three games. They’ve given the team more than enough chance to win, but the offense and special teams haven’t helped them out much. The defensive line was a force in this game, and Chris Jones is a special, special player.

I wrote last week that the offense is close to setting many records this year. Conversely the defense has given up more points and yards than many State defenses in the recent past. But that’s just on paper – what we’re seeing on the field is a top tier SEC defense and an offense that struggles with consistency and execution.

State had four turnovers but they had a chance at another one early in the 2nd quarter. Christian Holmes switching back to defense nearly had a pick deep in Bama territory….who knows what would have happened if he was just looking up – but I don’t blame Holmes as he was focused on the tackle.

Malcolm Johnson was great in this game. Tyler Russell didn’t have too many guys to throw to, but Mojo was there: 6 catches for 84 yards. He was the key on the 78 yard 1st half drive that didn’t result in points.

Speaking of that drive, it was an absolute killer. It’s discouraging enough to drive the length of the field and not score a touchdown, but to miss a 23 yard field goal as well??? The groans in the stadium were that of a fanbase that just keeps getting punched in the gut.

More kudos to the defense for going out and getting a turnover right after that, though. What. A. Catch. by Tavese Calhoun – that is making a play! Unfortunately we go 3 and out after that, failing to capitalize on a turnover yet again.

Letting teams score before the half is becoming an epidemic. It’s happened in 5 of the 6 losses this year, and in the one game it didn’t (South Carolina) we botched our chances to even attempt a field goal with poor clock management and substitution.

HOW WAS THIS NOT TARGETING!!!!!!??????????????


More credit to the defense and Yeldon’s fumble. Kendrick Market delivered the blow and Beniquez Brown recovered. This time we did gets some points and scored a touchdown on that unusual kicked fumble into the endzone. We fumbled several times in this game and did not lose one – another break we got…it’s like this game was meant for us to win but we couldn’t execute enough.

It looked like we were going to start swapping scores when Bama made it 17-7, then we start moving the ball with a couple of first downs to get into Bama territory, but Russell throws it into triple coverage 30 yards downfield and it gets intercepted. On 1st & 10, just a very poor decision…Lewis was blanketed. Then to top it off Russell gets hurt trying to make the tackle.

Ordinarily, when Bama is up 20-7 in the 4th quarter you would figure we’re toast, but they made two more critical turnovers leading to MSU getting starting field position in plus territory. Great play by Calhoun again – too bad he couldn’t get a TD on the return.

For a true freshman coming in with the game still in doubt in the 4th quarter, Damien Williams played pretty good. He made some mistakes, but the more glaring mistakes were made by his receivers….especially on the second drive. D’Runnya Wilson dropped a sure touchdown that would have made it 20-14 and given MSU a chance for the win. Execution, execution. Hopefully we learn from these circumstances and make sure they don’t happen again.

Final thoughts

The special teams is TERRIBLE. This falls directly on Dan Mullen’s head as he is the special team’s coach. We have GOT to find a placekicker. Punts, kickoffs, returns, it’s bad much more than it’s good. If Mullen would hire a special teams coach the offense would get better with his full attention and the special teams would as well with someone else’s full, and better attention.

Perkins – why? Slipping all over the field, and continually trying to run to the edge against top defenses is not going to work. I just don’t understand why Robinson and Shumpert are not are main tailbacks – let’s run north and south.

I can’t say I’m upset with this game. It’s a loss, but we definitely played four quarters of football….for the second straight week vs. a good team. I happy about that. I think it says a lot about how hard this team is fighting for Mullen, especially under the heat he’s getting from folks like me…that speaks to these players and Coach Mullen. If we can see this type of effort in the final two games we should be able to win them, and I’ll be happy to welcome Mullen back for another shot in 2014.

Tags: Alabama Crimson Tide Mississippi State Bulldogs

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