Saturday, October 20, 2012
Miss. State win sets up Bama showdown
By Greg Ostendorf
Before the season, who would’ve thought that next Saturday’s Alabama-Mississippi State game would feature two undefeated teams?
Despite MSU’s easy schedule to start the year, it seemed unlikely, but after the Bulldogs dominated Middle Tennessee State on Saturday, to the tune of 45-3, they will now be 7-0 heading to Tuscaloosa next weekend to face the No. 1 team in the nation.
The question is how good is this team?
Of their four non-conference victories, three of the opponents came from the Sun Belt. They have three SEC wins to this point, but all three were against teams in the bottom half of the conference -- Auburn, Kentucky and Tennessee.
Still, Mississippi State has looked impressive. The quarterback position caused problems last year, but junior Tyler Russell has taken the reins and turned the position into a strength. Against MTSU, he was 17 of 21 for 191 yards and three touchdowns. He’s now thrown 15 touchdowns to just one interception on the season.
Wide receiver Chad Bumphis was held to just one catch on Saturday, but he’s stepped in big games this year for the Bulldogs. In his last game at Bryant-Denny Stadium two year ago, he caught a touchdown, but Alabama held him in check last year.
Nobody expected Mississippi State to lose to MTSU, but instead of looking ahead, the Bulldogs took care of business and won big. It was a good tune-up game for next week’s showdown with the Tide.
Will they be ready?