Saturday, September 10, 2011
Halftime: Auburn 31, Mississippi State 24
By Edward Aschoff
AUBURN, Ala. -- Here's a look back at the first half with Auburn leading Mississippi State 31-24.
Best player in the half: Auburn running back Michael Dyer looks like he did last year. He's making cuts past defenders and once he's found openings it has been hard for Mississippi State defenders to catch him. He had 69 rushing yards and two touchdowns, including a 35-yarder to open the game.
Stat of the half: Auburn had 114 rushing yards at the half. The Tigers had just 78 total against Utah State last week. Even with Fletcher Cox back on the defensive line for the Bulldogs, this front seven is getting pushed around in the running game. Mississippi State's defense allowed 164 rushing yards last week, so the Bulldogs could be in trouble if the defensive line can't get more of a push up front.
What Auburn needs to do: The Tigers need to keep wearing down this Mississippi State defense. The Tigers have shown they can run on the Bulldogs and if they can keep it up, they'll get more points on the board. That strong running game should help open up the passing game more, which generated some big plays in the second quarter.
What Mississippi State needs to do: Quarterback Chris Relf was the offense for Mississippi State in the first half. He carried the ball 15 times, two more times than the rest of the team combined, for a team-high 69 yards. He also has 101 yards passing, but in order to put some more points on the board, the Bulldogs need to open up the passing game even more. The Bulldogs have the depth and athletes at receiver to exploit this young Tigers secondary, but Mississippi State has been hesitant to strike vertically much.