Hey Mississippi!


This week is full of emotion after both teams in the state of Mississippi had exceptional wins to remain undefeated. Mississippi State has a Heisman hopeful with quarterback Dak Prescott and Ole Miss found the tools to beat the Alabama Crimson Tide. The Rebels took down the Tide in a thrilling 23-17 victory. With all of the commotion being in Mississippi this week, it seems that the town of Starkville is ready to give Auburn its first division road game.

Mississippi will be hosting ESPN College GameDay for the second week in a row. Both the Auburn Tigers and the Bulldogs remain undefeated going into week seven of the season.

There is plenty of history within this series including last years 24-20 fourth quarter comeback. Nick Marshall connected to tight end C.J. Uzomah in the closing seconds of the game and gave the Tigers the first of many thrilling victories in 2013.

This game will receive the more hype from the fans and media than ever before. Both teams won big in the previous week and the focus of each team will be tested throughout this week.

Saturday will present the Tigers with an opportunity to keep building on the momentum of this season. The signature tempo began to emerge this past Saturday when the Tigers routed LSU 41-7 in Jordan-Hare Stadium. Nick Marshall, Sammie Coates, and the Auburn defense showed us the chemistry that made the Tigers so successful last season.

This previous success is the reason that Auburn will be ahead of the curve this year. A team that knows how to find a way to win is dangerous. A team that can do this on the road is even more dangerous.

Every week writers (including myself) reflect on how a team’s mojo moves throughout the previous season. Playing Texas A&M in College Station was last year’s road test. It showed the stamina of the team and showed America that Auburn had in fact turned the program around. It tested the defense and ability for the Tigers offense to adapt to the distractions of playing in a hostile environment.

This year’s matchup against the unbeaten Bulldogs will present similar tests, but also hold new challenges for the Tigers.

First, the Bulldogs have an impressive quarterback who can do it all. Dak Prescott has been compared to the Auburn great Cam Newton and his numbers show why. Of course, Auburn faced the challenges of a mobile QB on the road against Johnny Manziel last season.

Prescott so far has passed for thirteen touchdowns, rushed for six, and received a touchdown this season. His size is gives him the ability to move with power and speed.

It will be a true test for the Auburn D-Line to contain Prescott and apply pressure to disrupt the passing attack. The Bulldogs will rely on his vision and play making abilities to adjust to the Tigers defensive looks.

Where Mississippi State will challenge Auburn’s offense is with its defense. Having a mobile quarterback is not all Dan Mullen has in store for the Tigers, but a smash mouth defense that explodes off of the line.

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Auburn will have to remain poised if the game plan does not work. Mississippi State has extensive practice defending a mobile quarterback having Dak run their offense, so to struggle early will come as no surprise. It is how the Tigers choose to respond to defensive adversity that will give America a better look into how good of a team Auburn has.

Auburn proved against Kansas State that they would find a way to overcome their rushing struggles by passing the ball successfully. Sammie Coates was limited and it seemed that the rest of the receiving corps struggled as well. On Saturday the Tigers will have to have a plan to find holes in the Bulldogs secondary if the rushing attack is slow to produce. The success of LSU has given both Nick Marshall and various receivers’ confidence to connect deep and make big plays.

Auburn is aware of the implications between ranked in conference opponents and will prepare to take on its highest this year versus Mississippi State.

The Tigers will play their hardest game yet on Saturday, but will be playing with their momentum at its highest.

Auburn will take this momentum to their advantage and continue to promote a balanced game. Auburn will open the game by rushing hard against the Bulldogs and building drives based off of defensive schemes. If they stack the box early, look for Duke Williams or Sammie Coates to come up with a big reception early.

Auburn will try to score and set the tone early. If the defense can stay fresh and rotate properly, they will be able to contain Prescott. This will limit the play calling and make it tough for the Bulldogs quarterback.

I see Auburn coming home with a win in Starkville. The game will have the potential to be a shootout. I see a 42-31 score that will rely on defensive production from the Tigers.