COLLEGE FOOTBALL REWIND: Miss. State 24, Georgia 12

By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal

Thumbs up
– Coach Dan Mullen was pleased with all three phases of the game. “I think the team – offense, defense and kicking game – is playing with more confidence,” he said Sunday.
The Bulldogs were 7 of 13 on third downs, and they scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to put it away. The defense gave up some yards – 387 to be exact – but kept Georgia out of the end zone until the final couple of minutes.
Thumbs down
– QB Chris Relf had a solid game, completing 9 of 14 passes for 148 yards and two TDs. But he also fumbled the ball three times. Fortunately for him, Georgia couldn’t come up with any of them.
Defensively, MSU got some good pressure on Aaron Murray, but the redshirt freshman proved elusive and was sacked just once.
Keys to victory review
– Evaluating the keys to victory in Saturday’s GameDay edition:
1. Don’t underestimate Murray: Georgia’s QB completed 18 of 31 passes for 274 yards and a TD, and he rushed for 32 yards on 11 carries, using nimble feet to avoid MSU’s pass rush.
MSU did a good job in the red zone, forcing a fumble at its own 1-yard line and getting a nice pass break-up by cornerback Damein Anderson in the end zone.
2. Block somebody: The offensive line put its struggles behind it, paving the way for a 166-yard rushing effort and keeping the heat off Relf, who was not sacked.
3. Sustain momentum: Vick Ballard’s 13-yard TD reception in the first quarter gave MSU a 7-0 lead, its first lead in an SEC game this year. The Bulldogs didn’t score again until the fourth, but then it found a groove and put up 17 points.
– K.J. Wright: The linebacker earns this honor for a second consecutive week. He had seven tackles, half-a-sack and four pass break-ups.
Bottom line
– Mullen challenged his players to be better leaders and better playmakers, and they were – particularly Relf and Wright. Those two players will be crucial in keeping MSU centered.

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