Happy Friday, everyone. Alabama will be in Starkville tomorrow to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs as two touchdown road favorites. Many of the national pundits have decided that this one isn’t interesting enough to preview, but we have a few.
Mississippi State pass defense, it’s time to do SOMETHING.
Arizona’s Jayden de Laura, LSU’s Jayden Daniels, and South Carolina’s Spencer Rattler combined to hit 79% of their passes - for over 330 yards and seven touchdowns over the last three weeks.
Milroe doesn’t have to be amazing, and he doesn’t have to connect like he did last week, but as long as he’s hitting the throws that are there, the Alabama defense will take care of the rest, especially on third downs.
Alabama 31, Mississippi State 16
The offense of the Mississippi State Bulldogs has also been playing well, averaging 30.8 points on 388 total yards per game. Senior quarterback Will Rogers has been playing very well. He is currently 74-of-122 (60.7 completion percentage) for 979 yards with six touchdowns compared to one interception.
Their defense has been struggling a bit, allowing 27.3 points on 400.3 total yards per game thus far. In its previous game against South Carolina, the Bulldogs gave up 37 points on 432 total yards. A big issue was the team allowed 288 passing yards on just 20 attempts.
Prediction: Alabama 38-15
Alabama 34, Mississippi State 13: Alabama builds off the second half it had against the Rebels offensively and defensively. Jalen Milroe takes advantage of the Bulldogs’ issues in the passing game, and the defense limits Mississippi State’s scoring opportunities to notch a road SEC victory.
MSU’s offense came to life in last Saturday’s loss at South Carolina. Like its opponents, the Bulldogs capitalized on big passes from senior quarterback Will Rogers.
Getting those openings in the secondary will be difficult against Alabama, ranked No. 11 in the US LBM Coaches Poll. The Crimson Tide (3-1, 1-0) is allowing 203 passing yards per game. In the three games outside the loss to Texas, Alabama is averaging just 155 passing yards allowed.
Mississippi State likely will need to lean on running back Jo’Quavious Marks to help generate a balanced attack against a quality defense.
Alabama wins 31-10: It’s hard to pick against a streak dating back to 2007. Alabama coach Nick Saban has Mississippi State figured out.
That last one is from the Clarion-Ledger.
Mississippi State QB Will Rogers has faced Alabama three times and thrown 152 passes. For all that effort he has managed a whopping 678 yards, or 4.46 per attempt, while getting sacked 12 times and throwing 5 interceptions against zero touchdowns. Will has to see monsters wearing Crimson jerseys in his nightmares, and this will be the best Alabama defense he’s faced.
On top of that, the Mississippi State secondary has been atrocious, particularly against the deep ball that is Jalen Milroe’s strong suit as a passer. If Alabama’s head space is where we hope it is, this should be an opportunity to go on the road hyper focused and lay waste to an opponent the way that Alabama fans are accustomed to seeing. I have a very good feeling that this is going to happen this week. Cowbells be damned, look for Alabama to start dealing with some hype again after dismantling the Bulldogs on the road, 41-13.
Of course, that is merely my opinion. Vote and give us yours in the comments.
What will be the result of Alabama at Mississippi State?
Tide rolls and covers, Alabama by 15+
Another ugly road win, Alabama by 1-14
Mississippi State pulls the upset
Nick Saban had plenty to say between his radio show and his now-weekly appearance with Pat McAfee.
— Saban says Mississippi State is a big game and big challenge, especially on the road. Says Bulldogs are physical and will run the ball while being aggressive on defense. Says Alabama needs to continue to progress as a team. Says he’s liked Crimson Tide’s attitude this week in practice and is excited for the game.
— Says MSU QB Will Rogers is extremely accurate and is like having a coach on the field. Says it’s more challenging to prepare for the Bulldogs because of balance.
“But people think that just because somebody has talent and ability, they have this championship attitude to be the best that they can be. And that’s not always the case. There’s lot of people that have ability that need to learn how to challenge themselves to be the best that they can be. And in our case, and one of the things that we fight, you know, quite a bit. Because there’s a lot of social media. A lot of these kids now get a lot of their positive and self-gratification from external factors. And we’re kind of geared that way,” Saban continued.
“So, to try to get them to be intrinsically motivated. And they’ve always been better than everybody else. So, there’s never been this sense of urgency that they need to do things and pay attention to detail and do the little things right. So, to change that mindset. I mean, having people that understand human behavior and direct. We have these people talk to the players. We have them interview every player. And they tell us how we need to coach a guy so that we may be able to get into them at that point a little more quickly, because of his personality type or whatever,” the legendary head coach said.
“I understand what Dan I think was trying to say. And it was probably good for his team to hear in some ways,” Saban said. “But it probably wasn’t good for everybody else to hear. That’s always the argument. Where does the access—where do you draw the line and say?: ‘Okay there’s gotta be some time when you can talk to your team and say what you have to say, and it’s really not for everybody else to hear.’ “
Saban’s remarks highlight an ongoing dilemma in college football. How much media access does a coach give the public to his team? Do you show them everything that happens like Deion Sanders has at Colorado, or do you run a tight ship like we’ve seen at Oregon in previous years under Mario Cristobal?
“There was no preparation time as a coach,” Saban said. “When you walked on the field, if you know what’s coming you can go study your book and say ‘OK, I know that I know this stuff so when I go in front of the players today I’m gonna know what I’m talking about. None. None. You talk about making you a better coach. You had to know everything like that because you didn’t know what was coming next.”
Saban continued to marvel at the way Glanville ran the operation in Houston during the two seasons he spent as a defensive backs coach there. The Oilers made the playoffs in each of those years.
“Now we had good players, which that might be the lesson in all of it,” Saban said. “But he was a really good coach. He was a really good teacher on the field. The players had respect for him, he was very enthusiastic, very positive. But I grew up under Don James when every minute of every day was organized.”
That bit about Glanville is hilarious. Saban has clearly invested a lot of time into how to connect with modern young men, particularly in the age of NIL. We’ll see how the rest of the season goes in that regard.
Last, 5-star Jaylen Mbakwe is expected to play cornerback when he gets to Tuscaloosa, but he is playing quarterback currently and had himself a night on ESPN.
That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.