Game Day Eve: Bulldogs Try to Solve McCarron

This week’s game: No. 13 MSU (7-0, 3-0 SEC) at No. 1 Alabama (7-0, 4-0), Saturday, 7:30 p.m., ESPN (Brad NesslerTodd Blackledge and Holly Rowe)

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There are a lot of things MSU needs to do well to beat Alabama, and one of those is finding a way to disrupt the rhythm of quarterback A.J. McCarron. As you can read in today’s Journal, he will punish mistakes.

McCarron leads the nation in pass efficiency and has not thrown an interception this season. He’s surgical and will give MSU’s secondary – and entire defense – its biggest test to date.

“He makes some tremendous plays down the field throwing verticals,” MSU defensive coordinator Chris Wilson said. “The one thing he does extremely well, he’s a great decision-maker. If you make a mistake, if you’re out of position, he does a great job of putting the ball exactly where it needs to be.”

McCarron is has entered the Heisman discussion, and it’s about time. He’s been labeled, fairly or not, as a game manager. MSU’s coaches see him as much more than that.

“I think he’s an SEC quarterback – an elite SEC quarterback,” Wilson said. “You don’t play under that landscape and that light at a program like Alabama if you’re not a real good player. I think he’s more than a game manager, he’s an elite college football player.”

As you saw in the story, cornerbacks coach Melvin Smith hammered home the phrase “punishes mistakes” when talking about McCarron and the Alabama offense.

“He always knows where everything is, he’s like a coach on the field, and he punishes mistakes,” said Smith. “He punishes mistakes.”

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Let’s hit some more links on the Tide: Nick Saban wants more big games, more SEC games. … The new guys are pitching in for Bama. … Eddie Lacy is still spinning like a top.

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Here’s the rest of this weekend’s SEC schedule (LSU is off):

• Kentucky at Missouri, 11 a.m., ESPNU

• Tennessee at South Carolina, 11 a.m., ESPN

• Ole Miss at Arkansas, 11:21 a.m., SEC Network

• Florida vs. Georgia (Jacksonville), 2:30 p.m., CBS

• Texas A&M at Auburn, 6 p.m., ESPNU

• Massachusetts at Vanderbilt, 6 p.m., Fox Sports Net

I am the online content coordinator for DJournal.com. Previously at the Journal, I covered Mississippi State athletics (2008-13), high schools (2004-08), and was on the copy desk (2002-04). I'm working on a recipe for bacon-flavored coffee, which would solve all the world's problems.

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