The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

What the Auburn game taught us about MSU football

Noah Siano | The Reflector

Running back Aeris Williams, of West Point, cuts to the outside in MSU’s 49-10 loss at Auburn on Saturday. MSU fell out of the polls after the loss.

Let me preface this by saying, anyone who attacks or disrespects a player on Twitter, or even worse in person on campus, really needs to rethink what they have going on in their lives.

Now,  what is going on with Mississippi State University football? MSU fans and players were on a high after a 37-7 victory over LSU. A rare dominating victory over LSU gave MSU fans hope that this season could be another 2014 type season. Now after back-to-back blowout losses to No. 12 Auburn University and the No. 5 University of Georgia, we know that is not the case.

preseason polls are worthless 

So what does all of this tell us? First off, preseason polls need to go away. Six teams in the preseason top 25, including preseason No. 3 Florida State, have dropped out of the polls. 

LSU was ranked at No. 13 going into season. With no games being played, it was declared LSU was one of the top 15 teams in the county.

LSU is a lot closer to a bottom 15 team than a top 15. LSU is really bad. LSU was blown out by MSU, almost lost to Syracuse and then lost to Troy.

Because of LSU’s ranking, MSU quickly jumped up in the polls after blowing them out. They then fell out of them after two blowout losses. The polls at this point in the season change so much, teams move up and down way too many spots for people to use them reliably. This season is another in a long list of seasons that prove polls before October are a waste of time.

The fact is, we have no idea how good any of these teams are until at least five games are played. That is when we begin to see a landscape begin to shape up. 

The preseason polls are just a complete waste of time and everyone would be better off if we quit hyping teams up before games are played.

 MSU needs Myles and dear to get healthy

Coming into the season, the wide receiver position was the biggest question mark on this team. It was a young inexperienced group outside of Gabe Myles and Donald Gray. It also did not help that the third most experienced guy, Malik Dear, was out after tearing his ACL in the spring. Their struggles showed through on Saturday night in Auburn.

Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald struggled against Georgia with his accuracy, while against Auburn he was crisp on his passes, even though the stat sheet did not show it. A large part of that was the drops down the field. MSU could not catch the ball. Neither of Fitzgerald’s interceptions are on him, both hit the receiver in the hands and bounced up in the air and were picked. Multiple times on big downs, receivers dropped passes.

It is something MSU can not just correct in the middle of the season. Drops usually have more to do with inexperience than anything else. Players can not just get older in the middle of the season. The only way for this group to improve is to get senior Gabe Myles and junior Malik Dear back from injury. They both been practiced in the past week and will likely be back after MSU’s bye week and going into BYU.

Fans need to be patient with the offensive line

These injuries have also spread to other parts of the team. Starting defensive tackle Cory Thomas and starting linebacker Traver Jung are both out. Starting left tackle Martinas Rankin left early in the Auburn game with a sprained ankle. All five of these players are key parts of the team and MSU needs the bye week to have enough time to get at least some of them back on the field. It is really the only way the team can drastically improve between now and BYU. 

MSU has talent on their offensive line. Stewart Reese, Martinas Rankin, Greg Eiland, Darryl Williams, Michael Story and Elgton Jenkins are all talented players. However, two of the players mentioned above are freshmen and two more are sophomores. This is a young group. They can dominate like they did against LSU at home, but they have not handled the noise and pressure of playing on the road well.

Against Auburn, the team had seven false starts, four of which are credited to the two freshman. MSU fans are just going to have to bear with the growing pains. Going into the season, everyone hoped the talent would show on the field and it did at home. However, on the road the young group was clearly shaken. Those were the first SEC road games some of those guys have played in.

So before ranting on Twitter about the play of the offensive line, have some patience and let the group grow. Everything is not going to happen all at one time. This offensive line has the talent to be great, just give it some time to grow and develop.

Safeties need to play with more discipline

Auburn ran six plays and picked up 331 yards on Saturday night. In their other 50 plays they picked up a mere 180. What does that tell us? The safety play at MSU has not been great. The safeties got burnt four times on Saturday night, biting aggressively on routes and run fakes and getting beat over the top by Auburn receivers. It was not a one-time deal, the same thing happened against Georgia on the flee flicker play to start the game.  

MSU has athleticism at safety in Mark McLaurin, Brandon Bryant and Johnathan Abram, but they  lack the discipline. Defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons harped on communication being a problem they need to  fix on the whole defense. That could be the issue, but one thing we have learned so far is MSU has problems at the safety spot, they need help there and MSU fans have to hope these mistakes are corrected in the bye week.

 The world is not ending

How many MSU fans would have been happy winning one of the three against LSU, Georgia and Auburn going into the season? 

The answer is a lot. The LSU game elevated expectations for this team. Going into the season a lot of people had this team pegged as a middle of the pack SEC team, which is what they are.

Plus, if the way football team’s play on the weekend is really ending your world, there is a lot more things you need to get worked out. Overall, 2018 was supposed to be the big season anyway, after LSU, many thought  that 2017 could be great as well. It will not be, but there is nothing wrong with that. MSU fans still have a team that goes out and plays hard  and students and fans should take pride in that. 

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Reflector

Your donation will support the student journalists of Mississippi State University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Reflector

Comments (0)

All The Reflector Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
What the Auburn game taught us about MSU football