Nine years ago, an apparent baseball game broke out between Auburn and Mississippi State in Starkville.
The Tigers and Bulldogs didn’t actually decide to play baseball, but based off the final score, a fan glancing at Sunday's paper would make assumptions. No one would sniff the endzone and Auburn defeated Mississippi State by a final score of 3-2.
Auburn came into the game at 2-0 and No. 9 in the country, while Mississippi State was 1-1 and had already lost to Louisiana Tech.
Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville and Mississippi State coach Sylvester Croom would like to think that their defenses played well on that day. They did indeed, but the reason may have been because both offenses played dreadfully.
3-2 is a rare enough final score, but it was very indicative of how this game played out. Auburn punted on their first four possessions of the game and total eight punts on the night. Mississippi State topped Auburn’s four punts to start the game with seven punts on their first seven drives. They would total ten punts on the night.
Auburn had 315 yards of total offense, but committed 12 penalties and lost three fumbles. Ben Tate led Auburn with 102 rushing yards. Auburn’s offense looked significantly better than State’s offense, however.
State carried the rock 30 times, but only mustered 38 yards on the ground. They wouldn’t be much better throwing the ball as their offense totaled just 116 yards and six first downs on the night.
Wes Byrum made only one of three field goals on the night, but he only needed to make one to win. He connected on a 35-yard field goal in the second quarter and this would give Auburn a lead that State could not overcome.
Mississippi State had one chance to tie the game, but Adam Carson hooked a 38-yard field goal wide right in the third quarter.
Mississippi State scored in the fourth quarter, but Auburn is the one who gifted them two points. Auburn center Ryan Pugh got called for holding in the end-zone which is a safety.
After the safety, Auburn lost fumbles on the next two possessions to give State hope. State couldn’t capitalize on either though as they turned the ball down on turnovers after each turnover. The final Bulldogs’ possession ended with an interception to seal the win for Auburn.
Tuberville and Croom were on their way out after each team finished the 2008 season in disappointing fashion. Auburn lost seven of their last nine to finish 5-7. Mississippi State finished 4-8 on the season and both teams went 2-6 in SEC play.
The coaches who replaced Tuberville and Croom brought the Auburn vs. Mississippi State game to what it is today. Dan Mullen would replace Croom. Gene Chizik took over after Tuberville, and Chizik is credited with hiring current Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn as his offensive coordinator.