Those that believe that Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Dan Mullen has no business walking the same line of Texas’ Mack Brown or USC head boss Lane Kiffin, you might want to back off that statement after yet another blunder for Bulldogs chances of a successful year in 2013 came Saturday.
Bulldogs fans will see that go ahead touchdown pass from Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall to his tight end C.J Uzomah from 11 yards out to set up a 24-20 win for the Tigers first win in their last 11 games.
Mississippi State now has two wins out of their last nine. Auburn’s winning drive started way back at the Mississippi State 12-yard line, after nifty quarterback play in the reining moments by Gus Malzahn’s quarterback, Marshall. Marshall led Auburn’s offense to 12 plays to give Malzahn his first SEC victory at Auburn.
Conference openers always set the tone for your season as a head coach, and Mullen may have been right when he called this game possibly his biggest game of his career during the week. When or if Mullen does get fired, this game Saturday will be what decision makers look back on.
Mullen is facing a harsh reality from those Bulldog fans that want more. Mullen’s presumed eight-win regular season ceiling and stops to what they call “mediocre bowl games” still won the masses in Starkville. Understandably, their is growing concerns because Mullen still hasn’t won against a top-25 opponent, and lost five out of his last six games last season, after starting the season7-0. All wins came against teams that didn’t attend a bowl game. Handwriting is on the wall that Mullen’s three straight bowl appearances is good, but not good enough.
Mullen was suppose to bring all kinds of new bells and whistles offensively into 2013, but we have seen the Bulldogs get whip at the point of attack by Oklahoma State and losing their identity late in the Auburn loss.
There’s a lot to be said about the way Mullen brought along Bulldogs quarterback Dak Prescott in Saturday’s game. To ever get to a similar offense like Mullen had at Florida, it must be on Prescott … not last year’s quarterback Tyler Russell. Prescott rushed over 100 yards before the final quarter, gaining momentum right out of the gate in the second half with one of his two rushing touchdowns in the red zone. Prescott finished up with 22 carries for 133 yards and two scores. State totaled 415 total yards, 202 from the ground. The Bulldogs were 8-1 when running for over 100 yards last season. Mullen was given added heat with the way his Bulldogs only had three points despite gaining 332 yards of total offense in the season start with Oklahoma State.
This is crushing to say the least for State; Auburn is ways way from validating their place in the upper echelon of the West. The Bulldogs defense were so disciplined until the fourth quarter hit, holding an offense that has put up well over 500 total yards the first two weeks to a field goal in the third quarter.
Basically, it’s not enough to just to win in the Egg Bowl if you’re Mullen now, especially after a Yahoo article just came out this week alleging that Bulldogs former players wide receiver Chad Bumphis and Fletcher Cox received improper benefits.
No head coach has ever gotten the Bulldogs to four consecutive bowl appearances. After Saturday’s loss to Auburn, Mullen won’t either.
State hosts Troy next weekend at home, before a difficult challenge with LSU the following week. State hasn’t beaten LSU since 1999. Before last season, Mullen had only beat one SEC West opponent, which was Ole Miss three consecutive times.