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September 22, 2013
Now that it's over: Troy
MSU was sitting at home this time last week wondering what went wrong after another heartbreaking loss at Auburn. This week, they're trying to find something that did go wrong during their near-perfect performance against Troy on Saturday on their way to a 62-7 blowout victory.
The 62 points were great for fans questioning the offense, but what was most impressive was the fact they completely shut down the highly-touted Troy offense led by the nation's most prolific passer Corey Robinson. Troy looked to have things rolling offensively with 133 yards in the first quarter before MSU allowed only 50 yards the rest of the way. The offense was held nearly 40 points off of their average, 400 hundred yards under it and 200 passing yards under.
So now let's look back at my three keys to victory and see how the Bulldogs faired in each category. I mentioned MSU needed to utilize the weather to their advantage, produce on third downs and hit Robinson early and often.
Utilize the Weather to your Advantage: Well this turned out to be a dud, didn't it? The weather on Saturday night was absolutely beautiful. A picturesque sunset over Davis Wade set up for a beautiful kickoff. Temperatures started in the low 70's and even dipped down into the low 60's throughout the game. The field was in great condition as well, which meant that passing wasn't hampered much at all. The Bulldogs still dominated defensively and used the aerial attack themselves for 316 yards. Weather turned out to be a non-factor.
Produce on Third Downs : Mississippi State came in to Saturday's game among the country's worst teams on third down. At 12-44, there was much to be desired for State fans seeing their team in clutch situations. They had their best game of the year in this category this week, however, converting 8-12 on the day starting 6-7 through the first three quarters. If MSU can start consistently converting third downs, they will have an offense that's tough to stop.
Hit Robinson Early and Often: Dan Mullen mentioned in the postgame press conference that it was important to keep Robinson out of his rhythm because that's when he's most dangerous. The Bulldogs were in the backfield a lot against the Troy quarterbacks and Robinson never had time to get into that rhythm save for one touchdown drive. Of course, Troy did themselves no favors by changing quarterbacks during possessions and most momentum they could garner was lost.
It was a big win for MSU that they had to have happen with the recent loss and the scrutiny from the fan base. Mullen and company quieted some of the frustration with exciting play calls and lots of points as well as aggressive defense.
I was a bit off on my 34-19 prediction but, hey, I don't think anyone predicted what went down on Saturday. MSU gets a much needed bye week this week with an opportunity to heal up the roster and prepare for top-10 LSU at home next week.
Mississippi State NEWS