September 3, 2012

Monday with Mullen

The season may have started last Saturday but for most Mississippi State fans the year truly will not begin until this weekend.

The Bulldogs cruised to a comfortable 56-9 win over Jackson state in the opener but kicks off conference play on Saturday hosting Auburn, a team that has won the previous four meetings.

But a win this weekend over the Tigers would mean more than just a bit of retribution for Dan Mullen and the Bulldogs, it would also get them a jump start in the Western Division standings.

"It's a big game for us," Mullen said. "I've made a huge emphasis that if you want to compete for a championship you have to win all your home games. The competitiveness of being on the road in this league is tough. The opportunity to start the SEC season off at home against a West opponent it's very important to find a way to win this football game and catapult yourself into the rest of the season within conference play."

Auburn claimed a 17-14 victory during their previous visit to Starkville and stopped State on the goal line on the final play on the plains last year for a 41-34 win.

This year's Tiger team will have a much different look than last fall with the addition of new coordinators Scot Loeffler and Brian Van Gorder. Mullen and his assistants will only have one game of film to scheme off of in Auburn's 26-19 opening weekend loss to Clemson.

"It's a tough team to prepare for," Mullen said. "Obviously they have two new coordinators. You really only have one game to watch on film to see what they have. They probably held a bunch back last week so you don't know what else they are going to show that they decided not to show last week. We're going to have to be prepared for the unknown in this situation."

One thing Mullen is certain of is the competition on the defensive side of the ball will be much greater this week. The Bulldogs rolled up six offensive touchdowns against Jackson State but Mullen knows Auburn will be on another level.

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