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Sunday, October 1, 2017

Highlights and Thoughts for the Auburn/Mississippi State Football Game

I have to admit that I was somewhat apprehensive about this football game after listening to the hype about Mississippi State after they defeated LSU. Some of the talking heads on the sports talk stations were predicting a big win for Mississippi State. 

Of course, Auburn did leave points on the field in the first half and I kept wondering when and if they were going to put the game away. I felt that the turning point of this game came in the third quarter when Auburn started a drive at their own one foot line and Jarrett Stidham connected on a 57 yard pass to Eli Stove which ended with a 2 yard TD run by Kerryon Johnson. Auburn went on to ice the game by scoring 21 points in the 4th quarter. Auburn has now outscored their opponents 100 to 24 in the last two games and their defense has not given up more than 14 points in a game this season.

Auburn will now face a dejected Ole Miss team in a "brunch" football game next Saturday. There are still games to play and we can now tell what teams are legitimate in the SEC.

Here are my thoughts on the game last night.

1) Jarrett Stidham finished the evening with 264 passing yards and has now completed 72 % of his passes for the season. He hit 4 long passes for 47, 49, 57 and 52 yards and kept the Mississippi State defensive backfield busy all night. Jarrett Stidahm had great protection and the Auburn receivers had time to get open. 

A friend of mine was at the game and the Mississippi State fans sitting near him were amazed that Auburn did not throw the ball on every play. Prior to the Auburn game, the Mississippi State secondary had only allowed 3 passes that were more than 40 yards. 

My game ball goes to Jarrett Stidham and he seems to be getting better with each game. I really enjoy watching him play the QB position.

2) I feel that Auburn may have found a punter. Aiden Marshall, a walk-on freshman, placed two punts inside the Mississippi State 20 yard line and had a nice punt of 47 yards.

3) The Auburn crowd did their job on Saturday night. Mississippi State was flagged for 7 false starts and their right tackle seemed to be having trouble hearing the snap count. 

4) Kerryon Johnson had another great game running the ball even though it was evident that he was still bothered by the pulled hamstring. He has a good vision of the field and will survey the opposing defense before he hits the open gaps in the line. Kerryon finished the night with 116 yards on 23 carries and 3 TDs. Auburn is a different football team with him in the game. 

5) Auburn's defense continues to play well and held Nick Fitzgerald to 157 yards passing and 56 yards rushing. Auburn had 2 interceptions and one was a "pick 6" that put the game away. Auburn has depth on the defensive line and they are putting pressure on the opposing QBs. The Auburn defense has recorded 33 tackles for a loss and about half of these tackles have come from the defensive line. The Auburn defense has only allowed 9.4 points a game so far this season.

6) The Auburn receivers seem to be playing much better each game. They are running good routes and getting behind the defenders. Eli Stove had two catches for 75 yards which included the 57 yard strike when Auburn was on their own one foot line. Kyle Davis had a nice catch for 52 yards, Darius Slayton had 1 catch for 49 yards and Will Hastings caught a TD pass for 47 yards. At one time,  remember that Will was a walk-on place kicker.

7) Malik Wills was able to play some at the QB position had a nice "Nick Marshall" like TD run for 67 yards to make the score 49-10. 

This Auburn football team is fun to watch and I am just hoping that the momentum continues. Also, I would suggest listening to the "Auburn Network" instead of the ESPN talking heads. It is no secret that Rob and Stan do a great job describing the game.

War Eagle!

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