Coming off a matchup against No. 5 Texas A&M where Auburn's offense gained 26 yards in the fourth quarter, the Tigers will look for a better showing on the offensive front in Saturday’s matchup against Mississippi State.
While the Bulldogs' record might not show how impressive the defense has been, the Mississippi State defense ranks seventh in total defense and fourth in rushing yards allowed per game in the SEC.
“Their defense has been disruptive all year,” said head coach Gus Malzahn. “They’re impressive against some really good offenses, and they’re really good against the run.”
Over the Bulldogs’ last three games, the defense has allowed an average of 104.3 rushing yards per game. Since the Tigers rely heavily on establishing the run early, it will be even more important on Saturday with Mississippi State’s Air Raid offense's scoring potential.
“We’re confident in our defense and their plan to keep them low scoring and to hold up their end,” Nix said. “But at the same time, if you get in a game and you do have to score some points, we’ll be prepared for that too. We really believe our defense is going to play well and stop them, and we’re going to execute offensively and put some points on the board.”
Putting points on the board was no problem for Auburn in its 56-23 win over the Bulldogs last year. Nix threw for 335 yards and two touchdowns and added 56 yards and another touchdown on the ground.
The Auburn offense put up 578 total yards against Mississippi State in 2019. The closest they’ve come to that mark this season was against LSU when the Tigers had 506 yards of total offense.
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“[The Mississippi State defense does] a lot of different things, especially different from last year,” Nix said. “They were a little bit simpler last year, and you knew what you could expect. We had a good game plan for them going in last year. This year obviously, it’s a lot different with a new coaching staff.”
Auburn will kickoff against Mississippi State in Starkville, Mississippi, Saturday. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. CST with the game airing on SEC Network.
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