This week’s game: South Alabama (1-2) at No. 23 MSU (3-0), Saturday, 6 p.m., PPV (Bart Gregory and Jackie Sherrill)
Y’all remember that blog entry I did a couple weeks ago about turnover margin, don’t ya? Well, that was the focus in today’s story written off Monday’s press conference. The Bulldogs are plus-11 through three games, and the defense is on pace to create 48 turnovers. Yeah, I don’t think they’ll keep up that pace, but it’s a good sign for MSU that it’s been dominant in such a critical category.
Also in today’s Journal is a notebook that leads with MSU’s success on third and fourth downs. It’s much better on fourth downs so far, and the numbers in the story are striking. While the fourth-down rate is encouraging, the third-down struggles are of concern.
“That’s a critical area that we need to get better at,” offensive coordinator Les Koenning said. “But we are getting some explosive plays and getting in the end zone, so that’s been helpful.”
Through three games, MSU’s offense has 14 plays of 20 yards or more, and six of those have gone for 30-plus yards.
• This was fun: Both Dan Mullen and Tyler Russell were asked about tight end Marcus Green getting shut out of the receiving column by Troy. They gave seemingly different answers.
Mullen: “He was a major part of the game plan. He just didn’t catch many passes. He played a ton of plays, was in there most of the game with a lot of blocking.” (He had no catches)
Russell: “I don’t know if they were doing anything. We just had a different scheme.”
Being a big part of the game plan doesn’t necessarily mean a lot of plays are called for you. As a tight end, Green has a lot of blocking responsibilities, as Mullen noted. Anyway, just thought it was interesting. Green is currently third on the team with six catches for 85 yards, and his three touchdowns are second behind Chad Bumphis.
• Some more links this morning: Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson met with the media Monday to talk about his postgame comments and his concussion. … Kentucky’s players, who just suffered a loss to Western Kentucky, say they rally around each other. Joker Phillips, not so much. … South Alabama is not only facing MSU this week, it’s facing Koenning, who was offensive coordinator there for a year – before USA actually started playing. I had a good talk with Koenning yesterday about that experience, and you can look for my story in Friday’s Journal.