No. 2: 2021 Mississippi State football vs. Auburn Tigers
There may not be a better representation of the Mike Leach experience than the Bulldogs game at Auburn in 2021. Jordan-Hare Stadium has often served as a house of horrors for Mississippi State. Going into the 2021 season, State had lost in 8/10 trips to Auburn with those losses coming by an average margin of over 21 points.
The 2021 game looked as if it was going to follow a similar script. Auburn scored touchdowns on their first four drives of the game to go up 28-3 in the 2nd quarter. During the TV broadcast, it was reported that Mike Leach told his team on the sidelines that if they execute, Auburn couldn’t stop them. At the time, it seemed laughable. But the Pirate wasn’t crazy.
State finally put together a good drive late in the 2nd quarter to get a touchdown on the board. Auburn missed a field goal to close out the 1st half, and State went into the locker room down 28-10. Whatever momentum they found, they continued in the 2nd half.
The Bulldogs scored touchdowns on five-straight drives in the 2nd half. Will Rogers got into a rhythm as the offense became seemingly unstoppable. In my years as a State fan, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen an offense operate with the precision that Rogers and Co. did on that day once they settled in.
And in the meantime, the MSU defense figured things out as well, allowing just six 2nd half points. State scored 40-straight to mount the biggest comeback in school history, breaking a record that they had previously set in the season-opener against Louisiana Tech.
There can be a hot or cold nature to the Air Raid. And often times you’ll see that within a singular game. It’s not a coincidence that Mike Leach is responsible for the biggest ever comebacks at three different programs. And he was right. When his teams executed, they couldn’t be stopped.