State Wins with Solid QB Play, Field Position and Great Defense


Solid QB Play

Tyler Russell had himself a great day on Saturday. His numbers: 20 of 29, 222 yards, 3 TDs and 0 INTs were the best since Chris Relf at the Gator Bowl: 18 of 23, 281 yards and 1 INT. He looked poised in the pocket and had accurate throws. There were several occasions where he held onto the ball too long and Auburn’s big defensive ends got to him, but for the most part he did very well. And he did get hit a lot – but he got back up quickly and kept going.

I think we’ve finally found ourselves a quarterback. Even though Relf’s numbers were good in that Gator Bowl – and a couple of other games that year, he was never a pure passer. Russell is. He throws a crisp, accurate pass and can hit the receivers in stride. There was a lot of hope that he could break some records this year. Well, he is living up to expectations two games in.

Field Position

The story of last year’s game was Auburn having a decided edge in the field position game. This year Auburn’s average starting field position was the 24.6 yard line. MSU’s was the 34.4. Having that extra breathing room was important. Getting 5 turnovers was excellent as well. That won’t happen in most games but the defense’s ability to be opportunistic was a great sign.

Great Defense

Yes, Auburn’s offense was basically inept. Keihl Frazier looks like he has no business playing quarterback in the SEC. Still, they have a lot of athletes and Mississippi State was able to keep them in check. Onterio McCalebb with only 4 yards on 8 carries? Tre Mason only had 25 yards rushing, and Blakely 42. AU doesn’t have their tailbacks stuffed like that. Lutz and Emory Blake were held to only 43 yards combined as well.

And Chris Wilson’s unit only gave up 3 points as their only TD was a kickoff return. So that’s 12 points in the first two weeks, and all of JSU’s points were scored with mostly 2nd and 3rd string in the game. You could really say 1.5 points per game for this defense through the first two weeks.

Matthew Wells

This guy is a flat out stud. He has been everywhere in the first two games. I had no idea he would be this type of player for State. But so many guys on defense are standing out: Lawrence, Autry, Banks, Slay, Boyd, Skinner. This group has got some ballplayers, and I can’t wait to see what they can do going forward.

Hail State!