Let's talk about the first group of Bulldogs on our schedule. The Mississippi State variety. MSU's coach of five seasons, Sylvester Croom, was let go last season after seeing MSU finish in the bottom of the SEC most of his tenure. He compiled a 21-38 record in those five seasons and was 2-3 against the Ole Miss Rebels. Generally speaking, he was let go for having too many losing seasons. He had a good season in 2007 but most in Starkville perceived the 8-5 record to be more of a fluke than a regular occurrence seeing as they terminated him after his 2008 followup performance was 5 wins less than 2007.
Enough with the old. This year the coach is first time head coach Dan Mullen. He was a QB coach and offensive coordinator working hand in hand with Urban Meyer since Bowling Green. Obviously, Urban wouldn't have kept him around if he didn't know his stuff. His QB's have been consistently good. The Falcon, Ute, or Gator primary passer under his tutelage has averaged 10 wins, 3,216 yards of offense, and just over 36 touchdowns per season. That's no joke. However, his first seasons are the statistically down years. We, fortunately, are facing his first season with raw untempered MSU steel.
If you were to look up inconsistency, you'd see Mississippi State in the dictionary. They get blown out by Auburn's running attack. Then, they follow it up by shutting down the run against Vandy and winning. Then, follow that up with another great run stopping effort yet they lose. The only consistent stat for determining their W's and L's is turnover margin. They are averaging -3 in losses and +2 in wins. GT's gotta force turnovers. We always gotta force turnovers but it seems to be an important factor for breaking the spirit of this particular group of Bulldogs.
The defensive line returns a bunch of upper classmen. The DL average age is 3.75 (just under a senior) while the defensive unit as a whole averages 3.36 so we're talking about a pretty experienced group of veterans. There are two jucos on the defense that did not see GT's offense last year but the rest should remember our 438 yard ground pounding game. Look for a defense that's accumulating sacks to make some plays against our sometimes porous OL.
There's a single star amongst the group - K.J. Wright. He's their strongside linebacker and is currently leading the team in tackles and TFL's. Look for him to have about 400 tackles this Saturday.
O WoesDespite a pretty solid defense, the offense is pretty bad. They've yet to really find a solid passer and the offense single-handedly gave the game to LSU last week with three huge interceptions. The pass protection is good giving up only 3 sacks so far but the two primary QB's leave something to be desired. Chris Relf is the scrambling, kinda lost sometimes quarterback while Tyson Lee is the pseudo-attempt at a dropback passer. Neither are really doing much and Mullen is relying heavily on the running of Anthony Dixon.
Dixon has carried around 17 times per game and has actually compiled around 107 yards per game. Last year, he picked up 94 yards on our defense albeit most of it came from a 71 yard freak play. Look for Mullen to establish the run before he thinks about passing to much on GT. So far, this is the worst group of QB's we've faced.
Bird: I hope GT wins big but MSU wants to win this game and will not simply be going through the motions like they were last season. I say Tech wins 20-14.
Winfield: I honestly don't know what to make of this game. Last week's game against UNC was good, not great but it showed we were back on the right track. I don't think LSU is as good as everyone says either. Here's to the brutal month of October, and here's to victory! Tech 24 MSU 10
Dane: It's a weird one. With a new coaching staff, you can never quite know what to expect. Then again, it wouldn't surprise me if we go there and do it dirty to them just like we did last year. I told our guest blogger we would win by 17, so I'll stick with it - Tech 27 - MSU 10.