Sorry it has taken me so long to write this blog, but honestly, I donít know what to say about Saturdayís game against Mississippi State.Going into the game, I really wasnít worried.However, early in the game, it looked like we were going to be in for a fight, and it was only because of a botched fourth down attempt and a spectacular interception by Mark Barron that we managed to enter the second quarter with a 0-0 tie.
After about a quarter (probably a little less), our defense finally seemed to catch up to the speed of the game, and when our offense finally got on the board with a beautiful pass to Darius Hanks in the deep left flat, I felt pretty good again.We increased our lead to 17-0 early in the second half, but then we gave up yet another kickoff return for a TD to cut the lead to 17-7.Yes, the return man stepped out of bounds at the 38, so it wasnít technically a TD, but the thing is, we didnít stop him.Later in the game, they had another long kickoff return, so that is something we have to address and something that I canít believe is still such an issue for our team.But I digress.
The score at that point was actually, still 17-0, and they ultimately missed a field goal on that drive, so they didnít score at all.When all was said and done, we came away with a 31-3 victory over a pretty decent team on the road.In a normal season, Iíd be thrilled with the outcome, itís just that like Iíve said a dozen times before, our goals are loftier than beating Mississippi State, and I canít help but extrapolate our performance to the inevitable showdown with Florida.
Would Brandon James have stepped out of bounds on that kickoff return?Would Meyer call a pass in that first and goal situation that led to a sack and ultimately a field goal instead of a TD?Would Riley Cooper have dropped that easy TD pass across the middle of the field?Would Tebow have fumbled the snap on that first quarter fourth down?Would he have underthrown his wide-open receiver on the first play of the game?I donít know.Maybe so, but I canít help but think about last yearís game, where every opening we gave them, they exploited, and I donít really see any reason they wonít be able to do it again.
I donít mean to sound negative.We had several outstanding performances in Saturdayís game that deserve attention.Mark Barron made 2 interceptions, and both were things of beauty.Those of you that have been reading my blogs for awhile know how high Iíve been on Barron since he signed with us, and I have no reason to believe that he will be any less than an All-American before he leaves the Capstone.But while weíre on the subject of defensive backs, what in the world is going on with Marquis Johnson?Didnít he use to be an automatic touchdown whenever someone threw a deep pass against him?He made two beautiful pass breakups on deep passes on Saturday, and closed things out with an incredible interception.On offense, I canít tell you anything about Ingram that you donít already know; heís awesome, but we donít lose much if anything when Richardson comes in.What a backfield combo!Also, it finally appears that we have a couple of receivers besides Julio that can do some damage.Hanks had a huge TD catch, but he also made a highlight reel worthy catch on a low third down pass to keep a drive alive.
So we have lots of weapons on both offense and defense, and when weíre clicking, I donít think that there is anyone that we canít beat.I just want to see us click for a whole game, because I think thatís whatís going to be necessary for us to beat Florida.Two weeks from now when we play Auburn would be a perfect time to see our best game!
Next week we play Chattanooga, and no, Iím not going to tell you that we really need to be worried about this team.They run a spread offense, and their QB is a transfer from Tennessee, so they might put some points on the board, but we shouldnít have much trouble separating from them early.Hopefully weíll be able to rest our starters for part of the second half, because we all know who is waiting in the wings a week from Friday.And with all the back-door shenanigans going on with the Auburn boosters and our players, there has never been a better time to pound them, and there has NEVER been a worse time to lose to them.
Be sure to check back next week where Iíll discuss the Chattanooga game some, but my main focus will be on previewing Auburn.As always, feel free to send me any questions or comments.