I’m starting to get into this format of not doing a formal preview, mainly because there are so many good ones out there being done by other Dawg bloggers that it seems redundant. So, again, I’ll just leave you with a series of stats, possibilities and observations from which to draw your own conclusions.
- Maybe tomorrow night comes down to which team gets the first offensive line to function decently. Doesn’t this sound familiar? “Protection has broken down, blitzes have not been picked up and, most importantly, there’s been a communication breakdown. The result has been seven interceptions and zero touchdowns during the last two games by State’s quarterbacks.” Well, except for the seven interceptions.
- Which is one reason I like Georgia’s chances – as dysfunctional as the offense has appeared at times, it still sports a better body of work than this: “MSU does not have a quarterback ranked in the SEC’s top 10 in passing efficiency — Chris Relf and Tyler Russell combined for five interceptions last week at LSU — and hasn’t produced a 50-yard rusher in two weeks.” Ugh. It sounds like Mississippi State is missing Dan Mullen’s offensive genius as much as Florida is.
- I don’t want to get too snide about offensive genius, though, not after Jody did some counting during the Arkansas game and came up with this cringe-inducing stat: “What’s up with our play-action? If we’re under center, we’re going to be running play action. Saturday we had 24 pass plays called under center. Of those, 21 were play action and the other three were 3-step drops. In shotgun though, of our 14 attempted passing plays, only 1 used play-action.” Good grief, no wonder Murray was getting smacked around. I’m guessing that Manny Diaz has somebody on staff who can count, too.
- At least Georgia’s secondary will be able to look a bunch of receivers directly in the eye this week. “Of the 6 WRs they have on their 2-deep, only Leon Berry is an upperclassman. Only 1 of their top 6 stands over 6-0, Chris Smith, and he’s averaging only a catch per game.” After the last two weeks, that’s got to be a relief.
- What a surprise! Both defenses want to create more turnovers.
- One little thing to watch is Georgia’s kickoff return game. MSU ranks eleventh in the conference in opponents’ kickoff return yardage, and by a pretty good margin. Those Bulldogs are noticeably worse in that department than either South Carolina or Arkansas, so perhaps this is the week for Brandon Boykin to get untracked.
- Something else to keep in mind – going into the third quarter, Coach Mullen is doing something right with his halftime adjustments on offense. Mississippi State has scored touchdowns on each of its first second-half series this season. None were cheapies, either: 75 yards against Memphis, 63 yards against Auburn and 81 yards against LSU. (And since MSU got the ball first each time, I’d suggest that if Georgia wins the toss, the Dawgs elect to defer.)
- When you’re relegated to Fox at 7 PM, you don’t get the cream of the crop, broadcast team speaking. Bob Rathbun and Tim Couch – be still, my heart.