Smith on Sports: State, Auburn may not offer many points

Danny P. Smith

Sports Editor

Could we have another 3-2 score or close to it?

With two very good defenses and less that spectacular offenses, it's not too far-fetched to believe that this Saturday's college football game between the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the Auburn Tigers could be very low scoring.

This season is the 10-year anniversary, one that many people would like to forget, of when the Tigers came to Starkville and defeated the Bulldogs 3-2.

The probability of having a repeat of that result on Saturday is slim to none, but it could be another low-scoring game in the series that dates back to 1905.

Auburn's defense is very good and much better than Florida, which just knocked off MSU 13-6 at Davis Wade Stadium. The Tigers are at the top of the Southeastern Conference and third in the nation in scoring defense by only allowing 12.6 points per game and the unit has allowed on five total touchdowns this season with only one on the ground.

With the Bulldogs having so much trouble scoring on offense the last two weeks, it's certainly going to be a tall task to get any production against Auburn.

MSU has only scored one touchdown in the last two weeks, which was a rushing score by Nick Fitzgerald in the second quarter of the Kentucky game.

The State and Auburn offenses are both ranked eighth in the SEC and 54th nationally in scoring offense at 32.6 points per outing, so something has to give on Saturday.

If the Bulldogs and Tigers are to generate yards and points this week, it's going to be important for their quarterbacks and offensive line to play well. It's going to be very difficult to run the football in this one.

They have veteran quarterbacks who have been through the wars of SEC battles many times. MSU has Fitzgerald, who is a senior that is on the verge of becoming the top SEC rushing signal caller of all time, while Auburn has Jarrett Stidham, who can be a cool customer in the pocket and has passed for 200 yards or more in 12 games during his career.

The Bulldogs and Tigers have very capable offenses and the ability to strike for the big play is there, but the margin for error will be great.

Auburn may have the No. 1 ranked defense in the conference for scoring defense, but MSU is right there also at No. 5 (No. 8 nationally). The Bulldogs have only given up 13.4 points per game and rank second in the SEC and 11th in the country in total defense by allowing 286.8 yards per outing.

MSU defensive linemen Jeffery Simmons and Montez Sweat can cause quite a bit of problems for opposing offenses. It will be interesting to see how the Tigers choose to attack them on Saturday.

Of course there's no way to predict how things will happen, but if this game turns out to be something like a 28-21 result, I'd be very surprised.

Danny P. Smith is sports editor and columnist for the Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily News or its staff.