Bulldogs, Tigers Set For SEC West Showdown Saturday At Davis Wade
Kickoff for the SEC West battle is set for 11 a.m., with television broadcast on ESPN. For those unable to see the game, the Mississippi State Radio Network will broadcast all the action, as well as XM Radio (Channel 200) and Sirius Radio (Channel 112).
Mississippi State will look to build off an impressive opening season win against Jackson State, headlined by a dominating defense that returned two interceptions for touchdowns. Defense was the bright spots for both teams in week one and will continue to be the strong point on Saturday.
All-American Johnthan Banks, who anchors one of the best secondaries in the SEC, will lead State's defense Saturday. However, MSU's season opener allowed other Bulldogs to take the spotlight, as safety Darius Slay and linebacker Matthew Wells had pick-sixes in the week one victory. Banks, along with his teammates, will look to create the same problems for Auburn's offense as they did for Jackson State's last week.
The Tyler Russell era began last week with a notable performance, as the Meridian, Miss., native threw for 185 yards and two touchdowns on 15-of-24 passing. Along with Russell, the MSU running game also gave a noteworthy showing, with junior LaDarius Perkins (9 carries for 58 yards and 2 touchdowns) and redshirt freshman Derrick Milton (8 carries for 65 yards and a touchdown) leading the charge. Mullen will look for his offense to step up its game even more as the Bulldogs face a defensive line that gave the Clemson Tigers fits in week one.
Dee Ford and Corey Lemonier were the defensive catalysts for Auburn against Clemson and will lead the Tigers' defensive charge again Saturday. Ford and Lemonier put up a combined 13 tackles and four sacks in their week one matchup. New defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder will lean heavily on his linemen to stop MSU's spread offense attack on Saturday.
In the previous matchup between these two SEC West foes, it came down to the final seconds on the clock to decide a winner. Auburn stopped quarterback Chris Relf at the goal line as the clock expired, claiming victory against the Bulldogs, 41-34. From the start, it was a shootout, as both offenses were firing on all cylinders. Both Relf and running back Vick Ballard tallied more than 100 yards on the ground and one score, as Ballard took one in with under five minutes to go.
State will hit the road for the first time this season following Saturday's battle, heading to face the Troy Trojans in Troy, Ala. The contest is set to kickoff at 6 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN3, as well as the Mississippi State Radio Network.
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