August 29, 2012

Mullen talking Jackson State

While many Mississippi State fans have already circled their pivotal matchup against Auburn in week two, Dan Mullen hasn't overlooked the Bulldogs opening opponent.

Mullen knows the successful season Jackson State had last year and how dangerous their offense was. With so much of that same talent returning for the Tigers, Mullen is preparing his team for a battle.

"They are a team that went 9-2 last year and obviously had a great season," Mullen said. "I didn't look at their media days and stuff but I expect they are predicted to win the SWAC when you look at who they have coming back and the depth they have with seniors at key positions. Defensively they have nine senior starters and two juniors so obviously they are an extremely veteran unit on defense. It's the same thing with the offensive line, four of their five starters are seniors. They have guys that know how to win football games and have won games."

JSU's offense averaged 490.9 yards and 35.8 points per game last season. They closed out the season with back-to-back victories over Alabama A&M and Alcorn State by a combined score of 85-13.

However the Tigers did graduate record setting quarterback Casey Therriault. The "White Tiger" threw for 3,791 yards and scored 36 touchdowns in 2011. Jackson State is expected to start senior Dedric McDonald under center and also have former Akron transfer Clayton Moore in the fold as well.

"Obviously they had a great quarterback last year," Mullen said. "But I think all the weapons that are around (the quarterback) especially the o-line giving him time are things that will allow the quarterback to develop. From what I saw the guy that's coming in to play is a senior this year has played college football and been around a bunch. I don't think that will be as big a drop off as maybe people think it will be from their guy who was obviously a great player last year."

Saturday will also be an opportunity for MSU to finally start hitting someone other than themselves. The Bulldogs have been counting down the days and preparing since their Dec. 30 23-17 victory over Wake Forest in the Music City Bowl.



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