What We Learned from Mississippi State’s Loss at Auburn

It was a disastrous start for Mississippi State on The Plains, before you could even settle in to watch the game it was 21-0 Auburn. Tommy Stevens appeared to injure his leg/knee and didn’t return, leaving Garrett Shrader to clean up the mess. Shrader came in, made the offense look competent, and really took the starting job away from Stevens with how he played in relief.

The Good

  • Garrett Shrader was easily the brightest and best Mississippi State player on the field tonight. Throwing for 209 yards and 2 TDs, while rushing for another touchdown and 89 yards.
  • As bad as the defense was throughout the game, they did force 3 turnovers and Mississippi State did win the turnover battle.
  • Although he only caught two passes, Osirus Mitchell is going to be a huge target next season for Garrett Shrader the Bulldog offense, especially if he makes another jump in development like he from last season to this season.
  • While he was unable to connect on them, Shrader showed that he has the arm strength to push the ball downfield. If he’s able to strengthen his arm and find some touch on his passes during the next 3 years, he’s going to leave Mississippi State with better passing numbers than any Bulldog QB ever.

The Ugly

  • Let’s start with the defense. How a defense can go from one of the best in the country to being embarrassing in just one offseason is really impressive. Bob Shoop can’t hide behind 3 first rounders this season, and it’s hard to say there’s been improvement week to week on that side of the ball. Giving up 578 total yards of offense is not something State fans are used to seeing, even when they’ve had worse teams than this. You can blame the suspensions of Willie Gay, Lee Autry, and Marcus Murphy but this team knew they’d be without those guys for 8 games so that excuse is being used more than it should.
  • Sticking to that side of the ball, the secondary was as bad as it has been in a while. Not just the freshman corners Martin Emerson and Jarrian Jones, but guys like Maurice Smitherman, Cam Dantzler, CJ Morgan, and Brian Cole looked bad.
  • The lack of discipline was really shocking. First, CJ Morgan had a late hit on Auburn RB Boobee Whitlow giving the Tigers fifteen free yards and the ball inside the Bulldog 10 yard line. Then, Erroll Thompson was ejected due to a questionable targeting call, on a play that would have forced Auburn to punt with under 2 minutes left in the first half. Instead, Auburn kept possession and eventually ended the half with a touchdown making it 42-9.
  • The lack of passion and excitement from Mississippi State was concerning, there’s a lot of blame to pass around for that but when things get tough for this team they decide to quit. Unless something changes mentally, this likely won’t be the last blowout Mississippi State is on the wrong side of.

What’s Next?

Mississippi State will be off this upcoming weekend before hitting the road to Knoxville to play the Volunteers of Tennessee in what will be a must win for Joe Moorhead. There should be no reason they lose that game, whether players involved in tutorgate play or not.

JC Dickinson writes about Mississippi State and the SEC for Social Sports MS. To stay up to date on all things Mississippi State, follow JC on Twitter at @dickinsonjc. 

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