Published September 12, 2012 - 3:00pm
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The Matchup: Mississippi State at Troy
When: Saturday, September 15th
Where: Troy, Alabama
Game Time: 7:00 PM ET
What you need to know about Mississippi State: The Bulldogs are coming off their biggest win of the Dan Mullen era, beating Auburn in strong fashion 28-10.
Starting QB Tyler Russell won SEC Player of the Week honors for his three touchdown passes. Russell will remind you a little bit of Alex Smith at Utah. He’s quick in the pocket, has great awareness and is accurate both in and out of the pocket. He’s started off red hot, along with the running game of LaDarius Perkins. Perkins has run for 141 yards on 23 carries with three touchdowns so far.
Russell has completed a pass to 10 different receivers, and by receivers I’m counting backs as receivers. Russell has plenty of weapons at his disposal.
While I’ve been impressed by the offense, the defense is one of the very best in the SEC. Led by DB Johnathan Banks, the secondary is a ball-hawking group. The defensive unit forced five turnovers last week against Auburn. This squad is quite underrated as a whole.
What you need to know about Troy: Troy enters the game 1-1, beating UAB and losing to ULL. In the loss, Troy racked up 528 total yards on offense. The Trojans return 15 starters from a year ago.
QB Corey Robinson attempted 70 passes last week, and he has thrown for 649 yards and four touchdowns on the season, completing 63.3 percent of his passes. Running back Shawn Southward is another player to watch for the Trojans. He’s carried 44 times for 237 yards and three touchdowns.
Troy returns their top tackler from last year in SS Brynden Trawick, and he’s the player to watch on defense.
What you need to watch: Coming off of a very emotional win last week against Auburn, Mississippi State will need to up their game and get ready for Troy. The Trojans are no slouch, and they are 2-0 when hosting BCS conference opponents since their move to FBS. How will this team respond?
Mississippi State can develop several things for the offensive arsenal, but the biggest glaring need right now is a deep threat. Someone has to rise to the occasion and stretch the field, or defenses are just going to load the box. Whether it’s Chad Bumphis, Chris Smith, Arceto Clark or someone else, better defensive teams are going to load the box.
I look for MSU to stay hot and improve to 3-0.