AUBURN TIGERS AT MISSISSIPPI STATE BULLDOGS
Saturday, 11 a.m., ESPN (Play-by-play: Dave Pasch, Color: Brian Greise, Sideline: Jenn Brown)
Series history: Auburn leads 60-23-2 | Last 10: Auburn leads 9-1 | At Starkville: Auburn leads 12-4-1
Last meeting: Auburn 41, Mississippi State 34, Sept. 10, 2011, at Auburn
MISSISSIPPI STATE BULLDOGS (1-0, 0-0 SEC)
Head coach: Dan Mullen (At State, 22-17 overall, 9-15 in SEC play)
Offensive coordinator: Less Koenning (spread) | Defensive coordinator: Chris Wilson (4-3)
In its first game of the season, Mississippi State took a 35-6 halftime lead over Jackson State and cruised to a 56-9 victory. The Bulldogs were able to spread the ball around in the running game, as nine players received at least one carry, and no one received more than nine. Derrick Milton led the way with 65 yards and a touchdown on eight carries. Tyler Russell didn't have a great day throwing the ball (15 of 24 for 185 yards), but he threw two touchdowns and didn't throw an interception.
The State defense did a decent job against the Tigers. The Bulldogs didn't get much pressure on the quarterback, but the did hold JSU to 265 yards and force three turnovers. Those turnovers, plus a 2 of 11 mark on third downs really clamped the Jackson State offense.
Overall, it was a fairly bland performance for the Bulldogs, but that's probably because State was holding back in preparation for this week's game.
KEY BULLDOGS ON OFFENSE
Derrick Milton/LaDarius Perkins, RB -- The loss of Vic Ballard at running back is a big one, and these two are trying to pick up the slack. Milton was the most impressive against Jackson State, but Perkins' 58 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries wasn't bad either.
Tyler Russell, QB -- Russell has proven in the past that he is a good passer, but he doesn't have the mobility that Chris Relf possessed. If Auburn had faced an immobile quarterback for Clemson, the Tigers would have piled up a few more sacks. Will that happen in Starkville?
Chad Bumphis, WR -- Bumphis seems like he's been at State for 50 years. He didn't do much against Jackson State -- one catch for nine yards -- but if the Auburn secondary doesn't play well, he could torch the Tigers.
KEY BULLDOGS ON DEFENSE
Johnthan Banks, CB -- Banks ranks fourth on the NCAA career interception list and is tied for first in career pick-sixes. He's a playmaker at corner, and Kiehl Frazier can't afford to make any mistakes when throwing Banks' way.
Cameron Lawrence, LB -- Lawrence is on the Butkus Award watch list and was named first-team preseason All-SEC by The Birmingham News. He played sparingly against JSU and will be fresh for the Auburn game.
Josh Boyd, DT -- At 6-3, 300 pounds, Boyd is a behemoth in the middle of the Mississippi State line. He's on the Outland Trophy watch list and was named third-team preseason All-SEC by the Phil Steele and the league's coaches.