Auburn Opponent Scouting Report: Mississippi State Defense and Special Teams

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Nov 28, 2013; Starkville, MS, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs kicker Evan Sobiesk (64) misses a field goal during the game against the Mississippi Rebels at Davis Wade Stadium. Mississippi State Bulldogs defeat the Mississippi Rebels with a score of 17-10 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Special Teams

Easily the most disappointing area on the Mississippi State roster is kicker. Last season, punter Devon Bell handled many of the kicking duties, though Evan Sobiesk had some opportunities and finished the season 3-for-6 on field goals. Sobiesk has made both of State’s field goals this season, but the longest was a 28-yarder against LSU (he had a 27-yarder as well).

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Both Sobiesk and Westin Graves have been unable to connect from beyond 28 yards, though the pair have combined on only two other attempts. Graves missed 40-yarder against Southern Miss in the season opener, and Sobiesk failed in a 42-yard field goal attempt last week against Texas A&M. Sobiesk kicks the extra points.

The punting unit has been better, and Bell has averaged 43.5 yards on 24 punts this season. Ten punts have backed opponents back inside their own 20-yard line, and Bell has forced nine fair catches, and usually handles the kickoffs as well. Logan Cooke has punted four times and has averaged 45.2 yards.

In the return game, Jameon Lewis is a playmaker. However, he hasn’t been used nearly as often in 2014 as he was last year. Lewis has only two punt returns this year for five yards, and has returned only three kicks for 65 yards. Jamoral Graham has been the primary punt returner this season.