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Auburn Football 2011: Mississippi State Comes to the Plains

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 04:  Head coach Gene Chizik and quarterback Cam Newton #2 of the Auburn Tigers celebrate after their 56-17 win over the South Carolina Gamecocks during the 2010 SEC Championship at Georgia Dome on December 4, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Kevin McGradySenior Writer ISeptember 5, 2011

It is easy for fandom to get quite carried away when the results are in for the first game of the season. Reports of doom and gloom were abundant after Auburn played Arkansas State to start the season in 2010. The same can be said of the Utah State game in 2011.

There are some very basic answers to many of the questions Auburn fans have.
1. Why does the Auburn secondary play so far off the line and allow short slants and timed pass plays to be so effective?

Auburn runs a base Tampa Two defense. In this scheme, the defensive back is not responsible for covering receivers in the flats or close to the line. The responsibility for this falls on the linebackers.

2. Why did Auburn not change to the nickel defense when passes started to be so effective? When a team switches to the nickel defense there is a price to be paid in rushing defense. Utah State was very effective rushing the football for the entire game.

3. Why did Auburn wait so long to utilize the passing game? This is only speculation, but it appeared that Gus Malzahn was giving his new quarterback time to settle into the flow of the game first.

Next Saturday Auburn plays Mississippi State in Jordan-Hare Stadium at 11:00 a.m.  CTS.

Seasonal statistics for Auburn and Mississippi State


Mississippi State 


Rushing Offense

309 yards

78 yards

Passing Offense

336 yards

286 yards

Scoring Offense

59 points

42 points

Sacks Allowed



Punt Returns

5.83 yards

6.5 yards

Kickoff Returns


36.71 yards

Rushing Defense

164 yards

227 yards

Pass Defense

174 yards

221 yards




Tackles for Loss



Net Punting

41.4 yards

41 yards

Scoring Defense

14 points

38 points


In their first game, Mississippi State ran 69 offensive plays averaging 9.35 yards per play. Auburn ran 54 plays averaging 6.74 yards per play. Neither team looked especially strong on defense to start the season.

This is the SEC opener for both teams this season. Fans can expect both teams to execute better in game two as wrinkles are worked out. This should be a very well played game this Saturday.


Auburn should win this game with less difficulty than they experienced in the first game of the season. Expect the Tigers to tie up loose ends and get the job done in this early season matchup. Auburn -10 

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