Dirty Panda: 9/12/11


That was some tough bamboo to swallow. Not even calling for a pick-6 and Jonathon Banks making it happen can soften the blow.

Missed Opportunities:
1. Midway through the 3rd quarter, down 34-24, 2nd & 4 deep in Auburn territory – Relf did not hand the ball off and was tackled for a loss of 3 yards. State ended up settling for a field goal.

2. Next drive, Michael Carr was wide open for a touchdown and Relf threw his worst pass of the day. Two plays later it was 3rd and 7 from the Auburn 38 yard line. Down by seven, this was four down territory. Instead of throwing the down-field pass it probably would have been better to run on 3rd down and have a 4th and 2, 4th and 3 situation.

3. Last play of hte game, if Relf pitches to Ballard he walks into the endzone.

Missed calls:
1. Late in the 3rd, Auburn’s final scoring drive, 4th and 1 Dyer carries the ball. The spot looks generous, but still there appears to be light between the end of the chain and the ball…the announcer even said, “a little home-cooking for Auburn”.

2. 2nd & 5 on the 8 yard line,

Vick Ballard leaps toward the endzone, it looked like the ball might have crossed the plane. Auburn called a timeout after the play but no booth review? Not 100% sure if it was a touchdown, if only Ballard had carried the ball in his right hand (which, fundamentally, he should have been on that sideline). Apparently, the rule was changed in the offseason about the goal-line plane extension. Last year, that was a

touchdown, this year he had to either touch the pylon or land in the endzone for it to be a TD without the ball crossing the plane. But the next play the same line judge ignores Mullen’s timeout call until Dan’s in his face about it. Is the guy against State or just a space cadet?

Down by 14 with nine minutes to go State was called for a personal foul which set Auburn up 1st & 10 on the 48 yard line. The defense sacked Trotter and forced two incompletions to get the ball back. If that wouldn’t have happened, it would’ve been a blowout. Then Auburn’s next possession, the defense forced a 3 & out. So after playing poor all day, the D was pretty clutch in those two instances.

The offensive line and backfield played great as State ran for 333 yards. Redshirtfreshman Blaine Clausell did a great job filling in at left tackle for James Carmon, who had to be carted off the field.

Chris Relf is one heck of a football player. He got leveled on his 1st quarter touchdown pass to Brandon Heavens, ran the ball 27 times, taking a beating but still getting up and playing a very effective quarterback. He’s like Tim Tebow and Cam Newton in that regard, but when he went up against the Auburn safety on the final play he didn’t quite have those player’s strength to bulldoze the defender.

The defensive line did not look good. Auburn’s inexperienced O-line kept Trotter upright and opened enough holes for Michael Dyer to run wild for 150 yards.

It was tough to take this loss after watching both teams play in Week 1. On the field, Auburn has done nothing to deserve losing the #1 ranking. If they still had

it this would have been considered a great effort by all State fans. But that’s not how it is. Still, the Dawgs went on the road in a very hostile environment and fought til the end. The offense took one step forward, the defense took two steps back.

Even though it’s a loss, State learned how to fight in this game. Past teams would have folded in the 4th quarter, not this one. One reason is the strength program, but the main reason is Mullen. Auburn had State on the ropes, on the verge of a blowout, up 14 with the ball at midfield, but State bowed up and stopped them, scored, and stopped them again. This comeback will payoff later in the year. That’s a toughness and belief in yourself that can’t be taught.

MSU ran 97 offensive plays, Auburn ran 59 (Malzahn’s goal is 80).

The Dawgs outgained the Tigers by 150 yards.

State leads the SEC in total offense (588 yards per game), rushing offense (321 yards per game), and tackles for loss (8.5 per game).

State is 5th in the nation in total offense, and 99th in total defense. How about that for identity swap.

Neither James Carmon or Quentin Saulsberry’s injuries will require surgery. There is a good chance Saulsberry will be able to play vs. LSU.

And even though we can’t enjoy a victory today, we can still make fun of Ole Miss..