MSU, AUBURN SECOND DAY

CATEGORY: FOC College Football

AUTHOR: PARISH

MSU, AUBURN SECOND DAY

By Parrish Alford

Daily Journal

Mississippi State had a new starting quarterback, but a same old result Saturday.

No. 18 Auburn, with a career day from its own quarterback Dameyune Craig, dealt the Bulldogs their worst home loss in 10 years, 49-15.

In his first start as MSU’s No. 1 quarterback, Matt Wyatt completed 12 of 22 pass attempts for 170 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

He passed 9 yards to Lahitia Grant to make it 21-7 Auburn late in the second quarter and hit Jeremy Jones with an 81-yard bomb with the game out of reach in the fourth. Wyatt also saw Auburn cornerback Dan Evans return a badly under thrown ball 36 yards for a touchdown.

“I think the way you judge my performance is to look at what we did on offense,” said Wyatt, a redshirt freshman from Prattville, Ala. “We did not put enough points on the board to stay with them.

“That’s what we need to work on. We need to learn how to put the ball in the end zone and how to get in scoring position.”

Indeed, field position was a problem from the outset against Auburn. The Bulldogs’ first two drives started at their own 26 and 18-yard lines and went for negative yards. Before the Bulldogs gained positive yards on a drive they were down by two touchdowns.

The MSU offense was outgained 486-286 and turned the ball over twice. Auburn had no turnovers. By halftime MSU had just 79 total yards and trailed 28-7.

“We do a lot of good things on offense,” Wyatt said. “At times we have guys step up and make big plays. We just don’t have enough of that.”

Wyatt started the third quarter but was poked in the eye on a facemask call on the first play. Now backing up Wyatt, senior Derrick Taite took over. Taite played two possessions Saturday and was 3-for-7 for 36 yards. Plagued by interceptions previously, Taite was the only MSU quarterback not picked by Auburn. Third stringer Rob Morgan was intercepted once. He completed one pass in four attempts in a brief appearance late in the game.

Taite appeared at ease on the field. He isn’t sure if he’ll be given a shot to regain his starting job this week.

“I’m a senior. Playing the game should be second hand to me, and it is,” he said. “I don’t know what their (coaches) decision will be. I guess I’ll know when we meet. I just need to keep doing what I’ve been doing and wait for my next chance. We need to get 11 people going in the same direction.”

True to form, Sherrill would not discuss the direction of his offense, particularly his quarterbacks, after the game. The Bulldogs are open this week and go back on the road the place where they’ve earned their only two wins this year at LSU Oct. 26.

“We’ll have to look at the films and assess,” Sherrill said of his quarterbacks. “The biggest thing we need to do (in the off week) is get 11 people on the field on offense and defense ready to play.”