And no, I don’t mean a cupcake. That comes next week when the Citadel Bulldogs visit Bryant-Denny for an 11:00am SEC Network ‘showdown.’
Mississippi State has some of the things LSU didn’t, like a decent defensive line and a mobile QB in Nick Fitzgerald. LSU will still be the best team Alabama faces in the regular season but State has matchups that could cause some problems even with a full-health Tua Tagovailoa. And Nick Fitzgerald’s toughness and ability to run right by our 300 lb. block of soap can convert 3rd and short in the second half.
Alabama’s defense just keeps getting better every week, and the cool thing is that the whole unit has improved its play. There is a tremendous difference between the defense that let Louisville receivers run around in September. Arkansas and Mizzou would struggle to score even one touchdown against this unit. On pure passing downs, Fitzgerald will need every bit of his ball totin’ skills because he could be running for his life.
We can look for MSU to borrow from LSU’s game plan. They want to take the ball out of Tua’s hands and make Alabama beat them on the ground. They have a front seven capable of bringing pressure but the question is whether they’re capable and deep enough to do that for four quarters. It’s… unlikely.
Alabama’s offense revolves around Tua now. With Jalen Hurts out for at least another week, it’s either Tua or Mac Jones. Jones is a very good QB, but the playcalling changes with him. He doesn’t have the athletic or defense-reading chops that Tua does, so the playbook has to be trimmed down for him and we get more Sabanball. Let’s hope Tua stays upright, y’all.
Alabama wins both trench matchups, with MSU’s DL having a little better time against Bama’s OL than LSU did. I think we’ll see Bama put up less than 40 points again unless our offensive braintrust finds and ruthlessly exploits a Bulldog weakness.
Alabama 38, Mississippi State 10