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Getting back an edge: Bulldogs believe execution key to having success again

November 7, 2012

Mississippi State running back LaDarius Perkins (27) tries to avoid the Texas A&M defense last Saturday. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)

In the past two games, Mississippi State's running game has not been where it needs to be.

The No. 22 (Associated Press) Bulldogs (7-2, 3-2) have rushed for a total of 145 yards in their past two outings. MSU rushed for 47 yards in a 38-7 loss to Alabama two weeks ago, and gained 98 yards on the ground in a 38-13 loss to Texas A&M last Saturday.

"They gave us a few different looks," junior running back LaDarius Perkins said. "It wasn't solely based on what they did. I feel like we made some mistakes. We just need to make sure we execute at a high level."
This weekend the Bulldogs face one of the top defenses in the No. 9 (Associated Press) LSU Tigers (7-2, 3-2). Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. at Tiger Stadium and can be seen on ESPN.

"They are a great defensive line," Perkins said. "We can get some things going on the ground too."
LSU has given up 1,205 yards on the ground this season for a 102.8 clip per game.

Alabama rushed for 177 yards in its victory last week against LSU.

"It's real big," Perkins said of getting the ground game going. "We know in games like this you have to be able to run the ball pretty well. You have to be able to throw the ball also, (and) have a balanced attack. That is what we are plan on doing Saturday."

Execution is the word being thrown around quite a bit this week. Getting back to what got the Bulldogs to 7-0 is what Perkins is focusing on.

"I am just making sure we execute like we should this weekend, and just trying to get things going on the ground like we have been doing in previous games before the two losses," Perkins said. "We think this weekend we are going to get back on track with that also."

Execution all goes back to practice and making sure everybody does their assignment.

"(We just need) everybody doing their job at a high level," Perkins said. "If they are doing their job at a high level, big plays will happen. We'll get more points on the board. That's why we practice. I feel like practice makes perfect. Practice is going to help you get ready for the game."

Perkins has looked back at film and seen times where he could have done something different. He has seen a lot of holes that were open to him that he didn't use.

"I know a lot of times I miss a few holes," Perkins said. "I have to get better at that. That's why coach (Greg) Knox has been practicing with us a lot with finding the hole and making sure we are keeping our eyes open."

The Bulldogs have used several options at running back this year to spell Perkins. MSU has relied on Nick Griffin, who has rushed for 107 yards on 16 carries. They have also gone to Derrick Milton who has rushed for 175 yards on 30 attempts with two touchdowns.

"(Griffin) gets in there and Greg (Knox) does a good job alternating those guys and keeping them fresh," MSU offensive coordinator Les Koenning said. "You've got to keep them fresh and he's lucky enough to have some backs he can alternate in there."

The key for the Bulldogs to be successful is to score quick and often. In the last two games, MSU has failed to score quick, while the opposition has scored on its first few drives.

"We need to start fast, (and) keep our defense off the field," Perkins said. "(The defense) will be great for us. We can pound the clock and we can also throw the ball."

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