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Thursday, 9 October 2014

SEC West Showdown: #2 Auburn @ #3 Mississippi State

The marquee game in the nation in week seven takes place, yet again, in the SEC West. The Auburn Tigers travel to Starkville, Mississippi to face the number three Bulldogs of Mississippi State. The Ole Miss Rebels just played the biggest game in their program’s history against Alabama last week and now the Bulldogs will do the same, instead this time it’s against Auburn.

This game has an interesting contrast in that these two teams are nearly exact in what they do offensively and defensively. Both of these teams play a form of the spread that favors the run game instead of the passing game, unlike most spread attacks in America.

First off we have the Auburn Tigers who feature a dynamic offensive attack led by quarterback Nick Marshall. After serving his first half suspension in week one for off the field issues, Marshall has been nothing short of spectacular. His passing game has improved and of course he still has that burner speed that scares defensive coordinators.

His passing game has improved in large part to a better receiving core this season. The Auburn receiving core consists of Sammie Coates, Duke Williams and Ricardo Louis, to name a few. They all have elite speed and have the ability to run quality down field routes.

The Auburn passing game is a bigger part of the game plan now and look for it to play a huge role this Saturday against Mississippi State.

The Mississippi State Bulldogs have an elite offense of their own. The Bulldogs are led by Heisman Trophy favorite Dak Prescott. Prescott is built in the mold of a Tim Tebow in the way he runs the ball from the quarterback position.

He is a better passer than Tebow was and this has helped the Bulldogs reach this number three ranking. He will have to be superman like Tebow was against an Auburn defense that is highly underrated.

Auburn’s defense is stout in the front seven and is highly effective at shutting opposing team’s run game down. If Prescott gets outside the pocket then Auburn will have to limit his runs to five or less yards to help the back four in the defense.

This game, I believe, will come down to which offense will have the most success in the opponents red zone.

The Auburn offense is one of the best in the red zone at not only converting, but most of those conversions are for touchdowns. The Mississippi State defense will have to prevent them from scoring touchdowns and limit them to field goals if they hope to win on Saturday.

So, how do we see this one playing out on Saturday? I believe the home crowd of Mississippi State will be crucial in keeping the Bulldogs in this game. If this game was being played in Auburn, I believe the Tigers would win by double digits.

That is not the case and instead they will be playing in front of 60,000 plus Bulldog fans with their cow bells ringing as loud as possible.

The one big question I have about this game is how will Mississippi State bounce back from an emotionally high victory? The Bulldogs defeated a top 15 team in Texas A&M soundly, but now can they repeat that performance.

The biggest challenge in the SEC West this year is continually having to get amped up for another big game the following week. That is why I feel the home field will be huge for Mississippi State.

The Auburn Tigers defeated LSU 41-7 last week and the outcome was never in doubt. That could be said for the Mississippi State game as well against Texas A&M, but it just felt easier for Auburn.

Finally, I believe the Auburn Tigers will find a way to go on the road and get a huge road win. I feel they are the more talented team and their speed, both athlete wise and tempo wise will be the difference.

I believe Auburn will go in and win 38-34 in yet another classic SEC West game this season. I believe this game will be close right to the end because of that home field for Mississippi State. The Auburn Tigers found a way to win every close game last year, except the national title game, and yet again they will do so.

Auburn wins 38-34 and continues to quietly march through the SEC West. This win should boost them to number one in the nation and have them in the driver’s seat for making the SEC title game and final four. Auburn wins and gets one step closer to returning to the national title game for redemption.


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