It's the ten year anniversary of the dreaded 3-2 game between the Tigers and Bulldogs, and both teams are looking to avoid repeating history. Auburn comes into this game as the ranked team and favorite, but with a struggling offense Mississippi State is a popular upset pick. Here's how Auburn can avoid that fate.
3. Don't Let Fitzgerald Run
QB Nick Fitzgerald is averaging 4.54 yards per rush and needs 144 yards to surpass Tim Tebow's all-SEC record of rushing yards for a quarterback. Fitzgerald has struggled with passing the ball in recent games making him rely more on his legs. Shutting down Fitzgerald could lead to some turnovers.
2. Stay Disciplined on Defense
After shutting down the run game, the Tigers need to be prepared for when Fitzgerald throws the ball. Luckily for the team, Fitzgerald has a 44.7% completion rate this season. The Tigers need to put more defenders on the line, forcing Fitzgerald to panic to find a receiver. Assuming Auburn's defenders can stay in their lanes, the Tigers should have a field day.
1. Reconfigure the Offense
Auburn's offense has struggled this season despite averaging 33 points per game. Their most glaring problem is the inability to protect QB Jarrett Stidham and establish the run game. On the season, they are 94th in rushing marginal efficiency and 106th in passing-downs marginal efficiency. That must change against a stingy Mississippi State defense.