It seems like a century ago, but Mississippi State’s magical Saturday at Davis Wade Stadium happened just two seasons back.
On a rainy day two years ago, the Bulldogs beat No. 2 Auburn 38-23 to earn the school’s first No. 1 ranking.
“It was a great game and an unbelievable atmosphere. It was the best atmosphere here that I have seen since I have been the head coach,” MSU head coach Dan Mullen said. “A lot of people have said to me it was the biggest game in the history of the school. It was a special day for everyone here on campus and getting a big win like that. It was a great memory that everyone involved that day will have.”
When the Bulldogs (2-2, 1-1) and Tigers (3-2, 1-1) meet at 11 a.m. Saturday morning, a No. 1 ranking won’t be on the line. Neither team comes in undefeated with a Heisman candidate and they aren’t expected to compete for an SEC Championship this season.
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MSU has won the last two meetings between the two Western Division rivals.
“It is a big game obviously in conference for us with where we are right now being 1-1 in the SEC so this is a huge game for us,” Mullen said. “Obviously, it is a big challenge playing Auburn which is a very good football team.”
The Tigers are loaded on the defensive front where Kevin Steele’s first Auburn defense has no shortage of talent. There are four- and five-star players at every position and a couple of those players can’t even get on the field routinely.
There’s also a strong secondary that has allowed just over 200 yards of passing a game through the first five ball games. It’s an Auburn defense that Mullen has preached to his team to try and slow down on Saturday.
“They have a great defensive front. No. 1 (Montravius Adams) for them, who would have easily been a first round draft pick for the last year, is back. To have a guy like that back, that sets the tone,” Mullen said. “Defensive end No. 55 (Carl Lawson) is healthy. They also have a couple guys who are top recruits in the country; a lot of talent that way helps.”
Sophomore Elgton Jenkins and junior Martinas Rankin have been rotating at left tackle since the beginning of the season and will be responsible of blocking Adams and the defensive ends coming off the edge all day.
It’s a game that Jenkins experienced last season as the Bulldogs took down the Tigers in Auburn 17-9. He knows what’s on the line.
“That is a big game,” said Jenkins of Auburn. “We can’t look past it. We have to go out there and play Mississippi State football. If we go out there and play hard then the outcome should be good.”
MSU fans will likely see senior cornerback Cedric Jiles and Viper Will Coleman. Both are returning from injuries from the start of the season.
Auburn at Mississippi State
When: 11 a.m. Saturday
Where: Davis-Wade Stadium
Radio: 1490-AM, 1640-AM