Mississippi State Football: Win over Auburn Proves Bulldogs Should Be in Top 25

Ben ChodosCorrespondent IISeptember 8, 2012

STARKVILLE, MS - SEPTEMBER 8: Tight end Marcus Green #32 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs catches a pass over defensive back Jermaine Whitehead #9 of the Auburn Tigers for a touchdown in the second quarter of a NCAA college football game on September 8, 2012 at Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville, Mississippi. (Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images)
Butch Dill/Getty Images

Mississippi State proved that it should be ranked in the next AP Top 25 poll with a dominant victory over Auburn.

The Bulldogs looked impressive on both sides of the ball as they trounced their SEC West opponent 28-10 and improved to 2-0. The team received just three votes in the Week 2 rankings, but it will certainly get more attention this week.

The first half against Auburn made it look as though it would be another close battle between these two teams, as Mississippi State took a 7-3 lead into the locker room at halftime. The Tigers appeared to set the tone when Onterio McCalebb started the third quarter with a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

But the Bulldogs responded with 21 unanswered points to close out the game. 

In this game, Mississippi State junior quarterback Tyler Russell proved that he can be efficient and effective. He did not try to force throws and ended the game with 222 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. 

Russell hit tight end Marcus Green for two of his touchdowns and spread the ball around, completing passes to nine different receivers.

Senior cornerback Johnthan Banks has established himself as one of the premier cornerbacks in the country. His reputation usually leads teams to throw the ball away from him, but Auburn’s Kiehl Frazier opted to take his chances, and Banks punished him with two interceptions.

The Bulldogs secondary is incredibly talented, but the front seven showed how effective it can be today, as well. Auburn’s rushing attack was stuffed for just 91 yards on 39 carries, and no Tiger was able to average more than four yards per carry. 

While Auburn will certainly not be a national powerhouse this season, they are still an SEC team coming off an 8-5 season. Easy games do not exist in the SEC, and the Bulldogs made this victory look simple.

With the talent Mississippi State has on both sides of the ball and the performance they put on this weekend, the Bulldogs certainly look like one of the 25 best teams in the country.