Auburn vs. Mississippi State: Five things to know about the Bulldogs

After four weeks against some of the most talented teams in the country, Auburn’s schedule has slightly eased up as they are set to play the Mississippi State Bulldogs this Saturday.

While they have struggled so far, they just picked up their first conference win, something Auburn and Hugh Freeze are still looking to do. The Bulldogs took down Arkansas 7-3 and improved to 4-3 with the victory.

The Bulldogs also have a new head coach with Zach Arnett taking over the program after the tragic passing of Mike Leach. Arnett was their defensive coordinator from 2020-22 before getting the promotion.

Here are five things you need to know about the Bulldogs before their game against Auburn.

Their offense is completely different than last year's

Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Mississippi State’s offensive scheme last season under Leach was extremely straightforward. They were going to run the air raid system and they were not going to run it much at all, they averaged just 22.69 carries per game.

Arnett has taken the offense in a different direction with them now averaging 32.29 carries and leaning heavily on running back Jo’Quavious Marks. The senior has had a great season, averaging 5.15 yards per carry and 71.43 yards per game.


The status of QB Will Rogers is unknown

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Rogers is one of the most decorated quarterbacks in SEC history, having completed a record 1,264 passes for 11,964 yards and 92 touchdowns in four seasons.

He was forced to miss their game last week after suffering a shoulder injury against Western Michigan on Oct. 7. And while the Bulldogs were able to pick up the victory, backup quarterback Mike Wright attempted just 12 passes and struggled to get anything going offensively.

The Mississippi State offense has struggled all season but if Rogers is once again unable to go then the Auburn defense can expect plenty of carries by Marks on Saturday.

They have momentum on their side

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

It wasn’t pretty, but the Bulldogs picked up their first SEC win of the season by beating the Arkansas Razorbacks 7-3 in Fayetteville. Their defense led the way as they held the Razorbacks to just 2.9 yards per play and forced two turnovers.

Defensively, the Bulldogs were able to dominate the line of scrimmage and lived in the backfield, making 4.0 sacks and 7.0 tackles for loss. The Bulldogs defense has struggled against the more talented teams in the conference but they will be ready for an Auburn offense that is searching for an identity.

Auburn has historically dominated this series, but not recently

Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Auburn leads the all-time series 62-31-3 but has not been nearly as dominant in the past 10 years with the series being split 5-5.

In fact, the Bulldogs are currently riding a two-game winning streak against Auburn and have won three of the past five. With a win their three game winning streak would be their longest since they won four straight from 1997-2000.

Players to know

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

QB Mike Wright

If Will Rogers is unable to go then it will be Wright. The veteran spent three seasons at Vanderbilt before transferring to Mississippi State this offseason.

RB Jo’Quavious Marks

Marks is their top offensive player and one of the better backs in the league, if Auburn can slow him down they they should be able to shut down the Bulldogs’ offense.

WR Lideatrick Griffin

Mississippi State doesn’t throw it much, but when they do it is likely going to Griffin, and he leads them in every major statistic.

LB Nathaniel Watson

Watson has had a great senior season, totaling 7.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss, Auburn’s offensive line will have to pay attention to where he is and keep him out of the backfield.

S Shawn Preston Jr. 

Preston is the player to know in the secondary, leading the team with three interceptions to go with 36 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles.

Story originally appeared on Auburn Wire