Negative-87 yard plays don’t grow on trees.

Can’t say that I buy the overall premise of this post, but this is a good point to absorb as you ponder Mississippi State’s impressive defensive statistics:

So far this year, Mississippi State has allowed just 618 total yards, 206 yards per game and 3.34 yards per play. That’s good enough to rank the Bulldogs from Starkville as the nation’s fourth-best defense (as measured by yards per play).

Included in that tally, however, is one huge outlier. Against Louisiana Tech, Miss State’s opponent fumbled, kicked, and otherwise back-pedaled for a loss of 87 yards on a single play. That happened. A truly opportunistic Mississippi State would have recovered the fumble and scored a touchdown off of it. But instead, LA Tech found itself in a hilarious third-and-goal with 93 yards to go.

If you back that play out and say that LA Tech ran for a gain of 0, the Bulldogs look quite different defensively.

For instance, suddenly Louisiana Tech’s 315-yard output crosses the 400 mark. That’s right, Louisiana Tech racked up 315 yards against the vaunted Mississippi State defense, and that includes an 87-yard blooper of a loss. That ain’t a great stat for Miss State, folks. Further, removing that outlier pushes Mississippi State to 705 yards, 235 yards per game and 3.81 yards per play. That’s actually a meaningful distinction drops the Bulldogs to 10th in total defense. Against Charleston Southern (only 17 points scored all year), Louisiana Tech and a typically poor and still-adjusting LSU offense, that’s not terrifying in and of itself.

It’s still a pretty good job, just not as atmospheric.  Further, one place where MSU’s defense clearly excels over Georgia’s is in garbage time.  In three games, Mississippi State has given up a total of 128 yards (120 passing; only eight rushing) and one touchdown in the fourth quarter.


Filed under SEC Football, Stats Geek!

13 responses to “Negative-87 yard plays don’t grow on trees.

  1. Towel Boy would probably say his defense caused that play. I hope we burn his @$$ tonight.


  2. 92 grad

    This is why it’s so hard to believe that we are going to lose this game. There are a lot of paper tiger type things where state has come out on top, looks good, and has built confidence from. I just hope our guys are prepared mentally for some tough play tonight.


  3. Mayor

    Let me be among the first to say this…..after watching the LSU-MSU game in its entirety I don’t think MSU is really all that good. Their first 2 wins were against cupcakes (yes La Tech is a cupcake for an SEC school) and the win last week came against the weakest LSU team in decades…and that win was a bit of a fluke. I think all the media BS has really motivated the Dawgs. Kill ’em Dawgs. GATA!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Scorpio Jones, III

    In response to a speech in Alabama:

    “When will people learn that fear won’t make someone sit down. It quite possibly will make more stand up for what they believe in.”

    Chris Conley.


  5. merk

    Didn’t Grantham often play starters late in blow outs to keep shut-outs? I wonder when the starters were pulled in those games.
    This could be important if starters were only playing half of the game, as a full 4 Qtr battle could show a lack of endurance if they have not been playing the full time.


  6. Whatever stats favor MSU, it seems Coach Smart has had us fairly well prepared each game and our defense and special teams should give us a chance to beat anyone, including the imposter Dogs. This team has already shown a workman-like approach and it seems the players are on the same page.


  7. So someone at gameday in New York has a sign with the Tech score from last year. Always somehow who has to ruin the fun.


  8. Macallanlover

    87 yard losses may be more rare, as in generational rare, but we have our own sad story this year: the 70 yard penalty on Holyfield’s kickoff return against the Domers. And the silly hold didn’t impact the play at all. Damn, come on man!


  9. dawgman3000

    I think this game will come down to our offense. I think Kirby’s defense and Mullens offense will cancel each other out as both will make plays. I feel that with home field advantage, Fromm and the offense will hit on at least a couple of those big plays we missed on in the ND game. Remember folks, this is Todd Grantham were going against so there is sure to be some blown coverages during the course of the game. This is the game where Kirby needs to let the TE’s out of the DAWGhouse and inflict some damage on those imposter mutts.