New matchup, same dog fight.
Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn made sure to point out the battles Auburn has been through with Mississippi State over the years.
“Every time we play Mississippi State — doesn’t matter if it was 2009, 2010, or this year — it’s a physical game,” Malzahn said in a Tuesday press conference.
Malzahn expects this game to be no different.
Duking it Out in the Trenches
While Auburn leads the overall series 60-29-3, the team strayed from history last year at the hands of Mississippi State’s ground game.
“We have our first SEC home game — very excited about that,” Malzahn said. “We’re playing a very good Mississippi State team, a team that really, bottom line, embarrassed us last year. They rushed for 349 yards and we rushed for 90. That was a tough one.”
Malzahn said Auburn prides itself on physicality in the trenches.
Mississippi State does, too.
List of FBS players with 100+ rushing yards in each of the first four games this season:
— Brandon Langlois (@BMLanglois) September 23, 2019
The most dangerous part of Hill’s game is his consistency. While Hill averages 6.06 yards per rush, the Mississippi State star’s longest run of the season sits at 22 yards.
Hill was also a dangerous part of Mississippi State’s running game against Auburn last season. He held stock in 126 of Auburn’s 349 yards in last year’s contest.
What’s the Situation?
Auburn’s quarterback situation is set in true freshman Bo Nix.
Mississippi is lacking certainty.
Senior signal caller Tommy Stevens is dealing with a right shoulder injury. He originally suffered the injury in Week 2, which left true freshman quarterback Garrett Shrader with the football in his hands.
Senior Tommy Stevens is working toward playing at Auburn, but what if true freshman Garrett Shrader has to?
"I think the stage is never too big for Garrett," Stevens said. "As long as I've known Garrett, I've never seen him rattled."
More on MSU's QBs: https://t.co/UoaP3mTmnb
— Tyler Horka (@tbhorka) September 25, 2019
Shrader played well against Kentucky last week, going 17-22 for 180 yards passing. He also added 125 yards on the ground on just 11 rushes.
Mississippi State head coach Joe Moorhead spoke about Shrader’s maturity and toughness during a press conference on Monday.
“In my mind, I don’t view him (as a freshman),” he said. “I know he is a freshman, but his approach and his experience belies that fact. I think he plays a little more mature than most true freshmen.”
Moorhead and Mississippi State hope to see Stevens under center on Saturday, but they are confident Shrader can get the job done against a top 10 team in No. 7 Auburn.
The first of many SEC accolades for the bearded one, perhaps.
Garrett Shrader is the SEC Freshman of the week after throwing for 180 yards on 17-of-22 passing and running for 125 more on 11 carries. https://t.co/Z6mEomJsJF
— Tyler Horka (@tbhorka) September 23, 2019