Last week’s game between Mississippi State and UT-Martin (who?) was pretty much a given win. It was homecoming in Starkville, and the Bulldogs stomped the Skyhawks 45-16, earning an unprecedented, UNDEFEATED 9-0 record before moving on to the game of all games. . .
Time to focus on Bama:
In Dan Mullen’s press conference, he acknowledged how talented Alabama clearly is, saying, “they have more talent sitting on their bench not getting to play than we do on our entire team.” He went on to say that with the top passer, top receiver AND top running back in the country, along with their “complete” defense, Alabama is going to be a tough team, no doubt about it.With most predicting a State loss, Mullen said he’s okay with his team coming into this game and playing as the underdog. His guys can play with a chip on their shoulder as they have done before.
And Speaking of games before, Mullen said Dak Prescott, Josh Robinson (the Bowling Ball) and Bernardrick McKinney will be coming into this Alabama game with a little more ease and experience, having played other hostile environments in enemy territory and should not be overwhelmed by the situation. At the top of his expectations for this matchup, Mullen fully expects every single player to make big plays, capitalize on big hit opportunities, and be ready when their number is called.
What’s going for State:
Coach Mullen has done a terrific job of managing and rotating players this season in order to keep them healthy. Luckily, last week’s game against UT-Martin was essentially a scrimmage, allowing the players to get rested and energetic for this Saturday. Alabama, on the other hand, played LSU last weekend in a brutal battle, going in to overtime. They are still mending wounds and bruises, maybe resulting in a slightly weaker team. *fingers crossed*
We know Nick Saban has built wonderful programs at LSU and Alabama. At State, Dan Mullen, often mentions how he is building his football program, and how it’s a work in progress. Contrasting Saban’s recruiting style a bit, Mullen likes to pick up the looked-over guys, get them refocused and build them up in to the Bulldog family where they can be successful. Mullen is looking to build consistency within the Bulldog football program where a bowl game is not only guaranteed, but expected by the players every year. In the next few years, maybe a win against Alabama will not be such a surprise, but a repeated victory.
As mentioned, the analysts have already predicted that State WILL lose to Alabama–making them a one-loss team–and have factored that premature decision into their predictions for the winner of the SECWest, and who, in their opinions, will go to the conference championship playoff. MState playing AT Alabama and AT Ole Miss could possibly sway the committees’ decision in some part; a win at either one of these campuses is historically so tough, extra ‘points’ or ‘consideration’ might be thrown State’s way in the event of a loss. That being said, State has also played weak teams– Southern Miss, UT-Martin, and South Alabama, which may be counter-productive. Sportscasters love this hypothetical talk and predictions, but the playoffs are a few games away, so let’s just focus on this game-this weekend, shall we?
This will be a rock ’em, sock ’em, fight to the finish type of game, for sure. It’ll be the game of all games for State this season. so make sure to watch on CBS this Saturday, at 2:30 central. I’ll be live tweeting throughout the game so make sure you follow me on Twitter @LaurieADyer for updates, and be sure to share my links with your fan friends. HAILSTATE!!