MSU vs. Bama Preview

Alabama Head Coach Mike Shula on MSU:
"They (Mississippi State) are averaging 33 points a game offensively
over the last three games. They are very good defensively. They've given
up some big plays, but they are working on a short field in a lot of
those situations. They are very physical and they make big plays. They
are very athletic and their front seven are the strength of their
defense. Their defense has seven or eight returning starters from last
year. It's always a very physical game between us and Mississippi State.
Their defense always does a good job versus our offense. Now they have
some receivers who are making some big plays and a quarterback in
Michael Henig who is much, much better than he was last year when we saw
Sylvester Croom on Alabama:
"Alabama is a typical Alabama team. They've lost some close games, but
they've won some close games as well. The names and the faces may
change, but the jerseys are the same. The traditions are still there.
The expectations are still there. And that's what your playing against
as much as anything. I try to keep my emotions out of it. I'm not
playing in the game." On rushing numbers being down around the
league... "I look around our conference and I don't think we have the
runners. (Kenny) Irons - the kid at Auburn - is a top back, but you look
just a few years ago and they had Cadillac and Ronnie Brown - two great
backs. It's a cycle. The league is throwing the ball more this year, but
there'll be balance (in years to come)."
Alabama Back-up tailback Jimmy Johns on playing quarterback
"Hopefully I'll get to see a few more reps at quarterback this week. I can remember right after we beat them on their home field last year, Coach Croom was a little upset and said that I would never take a snap at quarterback at Alabama. The next week I took one in the LSU game. That was a little something for him. I hope I get a lot of snaps at quarterback this week because I want to perfect that part of our offense and make it effective."
"This just might be the week I sit back and throw out of that package. There's so much we can do out of it. We can run the power, the quarterback read, play action drop-back passes, even the option. There's so much we can do out of that package and I hope we open it up this week."
Jimmy Johns on the MSU defense
"They've got a good defense. They're fast and they've got some good leaders. Quinton Culberson is probably one of the top linebackers right now. We've been against some of the best whether it's Florida, Ole Miss or Tennessee and we've moved the ball on all of them. This is just another challenge. We just have to stay away from mistakes because that's what kills our drives more than anything."
*Alabama has won 5 consecutive games in the series, but only 6 of the last 10. Alabama leads the overall series 71-16-3.
*Alabama won 17-0 last year in Starkville.
*Alabama Tailback, Kenneth Darby, is 5th in the conference with 75.8 rushing YPG.
*Alabama Quarterback, John Parker Wilson, is 5th in the SEC in passing yards (205.3 YPG) and 7th in passing effeciency (134.12).
*Alabama has two players in the top ten in the SEC in receptions per game, Keith Brown (5.29 - 3rd) and DJ Hall (4.75 - 7th).
*DJ Hall is 2nd in the SEC in receiving yards at 91.5 YPG.
*Alabama return man, Javier Arenas, is currently 5th in the SEC in punt returns (8.2 AVG) and 7th in kick returns (21.33 AVG).
*Alabama's offense is ranked 7th in the SEC (341.1 YPG), while MSU ranks 11th (277.7 YPG)
*Alabama ranks 4th in conference in total defense (277.6 YPG) and MSU ranks 11th (345.8 YPG)
*Tony Burks has had 5 consecutive 100 yard receiving games after last weeks 7 catchs for 192 yards and 2 TD's for MSU. He is currently 4th in the conference at 79.8 receiving yards per game.
*Alabama leads the SEC and is second in the nation in turnover margin at +1.44 turnovers per game.
*Quinton Culberson currently is 3rd in the conference in tackles (8.67 per game).
*Titus Brown is currently 3rd in the SEC in tackles for loss (1.28 per game). Deljuan Robinson is 6th (1.19). Michael Heard is 8th (1.00) and Quinton Culberson is 10th (.94).
MSU offense vs. Bama defense
Bama offense vs. MSU defense