4.4: the number of yards per carry Mississippi State football averaged against Alabama
That’s not a bad number. This in and of itself is not concerning. This is something solid. That said, it’s concerning that MSU couldn’t rely on this more.
The offense had issues all over the place, but one area that the Bulldogs probably really wanted to do better in was in the running game. And while 4.4 yards per carry against an Alabama defense is respectable, it’s obvious that Mississippi State felt like it couldn’t rely on something that was working relatively well during this game.
Mississippi State’s Jo’Quavious Marks ran the ball well and gained 68 yards on nine carries, but he seemingly got dinged up and appeared visibly frustrated on multiple occasions as he left the field. So MSU couldn’t run the ball with him. And when they turned to Jeffery Pittman, Seth Davis, and quarterback Mike Wright, the Bulldogs simply didn’t have enough opportunities to really gain some steam here.
It seemed like MSU got behind a bit early and felt pressured to rely on Will Rogers a bit, but that didn’t exactly work out either. Mississippi State’s offense is still seeking an identity and that was evident Saturday night.
38 percent: the percentage for the number of times Mississippi State converted third downs
So yeah, because the Bulldogs’ offense was all sorts of inconsistent and unable to sustain successful drives against Alabama’s stout defense, and because the Bulldogs got behind the chains on multiple occasions and couldn’t run the ball the way they seemingly wanted to, third downs also became a problem.
And it’s more than evident that third downs plagued Mississippi State all evening. The Bulldogs converted a meager five of 13 third down attempts all game.
Getting behind the chains and not being able to rely on an aspect of the offense that is having a relatively successful measure of success is going to doom MSU in SEC games more often than not.
And that’s exactly what happened Saturday evening.