Auburn at Mississippi State: Dreadful Start Dooms Tigers


Oct 11, 2014; Starkville, MS, USA; Auburn Tigers quarterback Nick Marshall (14) gets wrapped up by Mississippi State Bulldogs linebacker Beniquez Brown (42) during the first quarter at Davis Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Well, the Mississippi State Bulldogs came to play, and the beginning of the game was anything but #AuburnFast.

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After forcing a three-and-out on the first Bulldogs drive, Auburn gave the ball back immediately when the Tigers’ first offensive play resulted in an interception. Nick Marshall’s pass was tipped, then Jay Hughes picked it to set the tone for the biggest win in Mississippi State football history. When the dust finally settled, No. 2 Auburn fell to the third-ranked (and quite possibly the soon-to-be No.1 ranked) Bulldogs 38-23.

Four plays after the interception, Dak Prescott found receiver De’Runnya Wilson for a 34-yard touchdown pass and catch in which Wilson broke a tackle and sprinted into the end zone, and it didn’t get much better from there for Auburn. Marshall’s first pass on the following drive was caught, but then fumbled by D’haquille Williams, giving the Bulldogs premium field position that they cashed in four plays later when Josh Robinson lunged into the end zone from two yards out.

Two Auburn plays, two turnovers, and a 14-0 lead for Mississippi State.

It was 21-0 by the time the Auburn offense settled down, but the Tigers were unable to take full advantage of four Bulldogs’ turnovers in the first half. When the teams went to the locker room, the Tigers had settled for two Daniel Carlson field goals, who hit from 21 and 22 yards after missing his first attempt of the game: a 28-yarder.

Jonathan Jones intercepted State quarterback Dak Prescott twice in the first half, but the Heisman candidate finished the game 18-for-34 passing with 245 yards and a touchdown. Prescott added 122 yards and two touchdowns on the ground to lead the upset.

Auburn made a push late in the first half when Nick Marshall hit a wide open Williams for a nine-yard TD, but the Bulldogs answered immediately with a touchdown drive of their own to make it 28-13 after two quarters. In the third quarter, Marshall led the Tigers on a 99-yard touchdown drive to pull to within eight points, again finding Williams in the end zone, but it was as close as Auburn would get.

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  • The senior competed 17 of his 35 passing attempts for 207 yards and two touchdowns, but was intercepted twice and sacked a season-high four times. It was the second pick was the death knell for the Tigers as it ended a promising drive just short of the end zone.

    Marshall led the Tigers rushing attack with 104 yards on 17 carries. Cameron Artis-Payne had 68 yards on 16 carries, but struggled to get going early in the game. He picked up 28 yards with a big run on the Tigers’ last fourth quarter drive. True Freshman Roc Thomas had 42 yards on six first half carries, and appeared to give the Tigers a boost, but was not used in the second half.

    Williams led the Tigers with 108 receiving yards on six catches and he caught both of Marshall’s touchdowns. Overall, the Auburn offense 443 yards of total offense, but had difficulty getting the ball into the end zone.

    After holding LSU without a third down conversion the entire game last week, MSU converted seven of their nine first half attempts. Auburn allowed 315 yards of total offense over the first two quarters, and State rolled up 470 yards on the afternoon.

    The loss drops Auburn to 5-1, and 2-1 in SEC play. The Tigers will have a bye week before hosting South Carolina on September 25.