Auburn will head to Starkville, Miss. for the second week of the 2012 season looking for a big win to start the SEC schedule. Most pundits are picking the Tigers to lose this game, but there are six reasons why Auburn will cruise past the Bulldogs in week 2.
Auburn returns 16 starters from a team that finished the 2011 season with eight wins and a bowl win—how this team is picked to lose at least six games in 2012 is a bit of a mystery. The assumed pending loss to Mississippi State is confusing when you dig into the holes that the 2012 Bulldogs are facing.
The Auburn Tigers will expect this to be a win—especially coming off of a big win over Clemson—and here are the six reasons why it happens on September 8th.
According to the Clarion Ledger, Dan Mullen may employ a two-quarterback system in 2012. Losing dual-threat quarterback Chris Relf to graduation, as well as leading rusher Vick Ballard has put a dent in the Bulldogs rushing attack.
Enter redshirt freshman Dak Prescott. Prescott is a big bodied quarterback that resembles Chris Relf in size and style—Prescott is 6’2”, 230 pounds.
The Bulldogs have Tyler Russell as their listed and apparent starter at quarterback heading into 2012, but Russell doesn’t bring a rushing threat to the field—Prescott does. Dan Mullen wants to have that dimension in his offense, but two-quarterback systems don’t typically breed success.
One team has been successful at the balance in recent memory—the 2006 Florida Gators. Granted, Mullen was the offensive coordinator for the Gators then, but Russell is no Chris Leak and Prescott will not be Tim Tebow.
Auburn will be heading to Starkville for the competition which provides an advantage for the Bulldogs, but a two-quarterback system will not be the answer the Bulldogs need on offense.
The Auburn Tigers head into the Mississippi State game with a lot of experience in the front seven on defense. The Tigers will be replacing one starter, returning a pile of talented and experienced defensive linemen, and two of three linebackers.
The Bulldogs will only return two of its starters along the offensive line—that could spell trouble in week 2 against the Tigers.
Auburn will be very effective against the Bulldogs off of the edge with Mississippi State replacing both starting tackles. The Tigers will have a field day with the Bulldogs' offensive line.
Along with the troubles that will come moving the ball on the ground, the Tigers will bring a dangerous pass rush that will make it tough for new starter Tyler Russell to gain traction through the air.
Week 2 will bring a tough contest for the Tigers in Starkville, but the Auburn will be riding high from the momentum gained from a big win against the Clemson Tigers.
Auburn will have a tough opponent to start the season in Clemson that will not only help the Tigers gauge where they are, but also provide them with the confidence to march into Davis-Wade Stadium and grab a win.
The Tigers have battled the Bulldogs in some tough games since the arrival of Gene Chizik in 2009, but the momentum that will come with defeating a top 15 team will help push this Auburn team to a second victory in as many weeks.
Kiehl Frazier did not have a breakout freshman season, but he did exactly what the coaches asked of him effectively and efficiently. This season will be his year to prove his worth to the Tigers program.
Frazier will have a winning performance against Clemson, but the Tigers will rely heavily on the rushing attack to push forward for the win in the first week of the season. Against Mississippi State, the Tigers will have to open up the passing attack to earn a big victory.
The dimensions that Frazier adds to the Scot Loeffler offense are undeniable. He has a rocket for an arm and has the ability to threaten defenses with his legs. Frazier will not be an option-type quarterback, but the threat of a play-action quarterback that can earn yards when plays break down is enough to cause issues for the Bulldogs defense.
Frazier will have a new confidence in his game and in the new system by week 2. His game will come together and afford him his “breakout” SEC performance for the 2012 season.
While Auburn is battling Clemson in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, the Bulldogs will be facing off with FCS school Jackson State. While it will be a sure win for the Bulldogs, it won’t be a competition that provides a lot of growth for Mississippi State.
No disrespect to Jackson State, but the game against the Tigers will not give the Bulldogs much to grow from as they head into week 2.
Mississippi State should win the game handily, giving them a boost in the win column, but Auburn will be the first true test of the season. Auburn will have played one of the better teams in the ACC, giving them a strong competitive advantage.
Every team has to work out the kinks to start the season. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, there will be a few leftover from the first contest that will show against the Auburn Tigers. Expect Auburn to use that to its advantage on the way to a big win.
Auburn enters the 2012 season with a stable of able-bodied backs ready to prove their worth to the country.
Onterio McCalebb and Tre Mason both ran in the shadow of former Tigers star Michael Dyer a year ago, but this season they are ready to leave a mark. It starts against Clemson and will continue against Mississippi State.
The Bulldogs lose Fletcher Cox and Brandon Wilson on defense in 2012—two major contributors to the Mississippi State run defense in 2011. The Bulldogs have some talented replacements, but the Tigers from Jackson State will not have anything near Auburn’s rushing attack that will prep the Bulldogs for the week 2 showdown.
The play-action will be a big part of the Tigers offense in week 2. The Bulldogs will have to release secondary players to assist in run defense, leaving their inexperienced safeties alone in the secondary to defend the Tigers passing attack.
Auburn will use the talent in the backfield to create a lot of havoc for the Bulldogs defense, producing a big win for the Tigers in week 2.