Published September 1, 2011 - 11:32pm
NEW: Discuss this topic in the Google+ community for SEC fans.
Mississippi State absolutely hammered the Memphis Tigers tonight 59-14. Is that surprising? Absolutely not. Is Memphis an accurate measuring stick? No, but there are a couple different things we can take away from this game as a State fan and an SEC fan.
1. State did exactly what they were supposed to do. Everyone thought the Bulldogs should give it to Memphis pretty good, and they did just that. So, this is a good start for State. Dan Mullen kept hinting this team could be special in preseason camp, and I can certainly see where he was getting at with the depth that is finally assembled to make a legitimate run in the daunting SEC West. Both the defense and offense took care of business, and the defense did not have their best defensive lineman in Fletcher Cox. It was an impressive showing on both sides of the ball.
2. State’s rushing game will be second to none in any conference. Sure, Memphis is an absolutely terrible team, but State’s offensive line looked really good, as did the running backs. Vick Ballard could be a top-three running back in this league, and he had 10 carries for 166 yards and three touchdowns. Ballard broke off two touchdown runs of 46 and 66 each. Quarterback Chris Relf had 13 carries for 51 yards as well. The ground game totaled over 300 yards rushing and five touchdowns. Will they do this week-in and week-out in the SEC? Most likely they will not; however, this offense should lead the SEC in rushing this season.
3. Chris Relf looks to have picked up where he left off in the passing game for the Bulldogs. He finished 2010 strong, throwing for 793 yards and six touchdowns in his final three games, and tonight Relf continued his progression in the passing game. He finished 13 of 21 for 202 yards and two touchdowns, including a 44-yard pass to Chad Bumphis at the 11-minute mark of the first quarter.
I know Memphis is not a good benchmark for anything in the SEC; however, it certainly was nice seeing the Bulldogs do exactly what they were supposed to do, and that was go into Memphis and take care of business.
This Mississippi State team could really surprise some people this year in the West, especially if Relf can keep progressing in the passing game like he has been doing. I am particularly looking at next weekend, when the Bulldogs travel to Auburn and then the following week, when they host LSU.