Call it getting over the hump, throwing the monkey from his back or just a big win, but Dan Mullen finally beat Auburn for the first time in what was a signature win for Mississippi State in the SEC West.
The Bulldogs downed the Tigers 28-10, and honestly, it could’ve been much worse.
Tyler Russell led the way for MSU with a stellar afternoon, completing 20-of-29 passes for 22 yards and three touchdowns, despite frequently being on the run. Two of those touchdowns went to senior tight end Marcus Green, who bounced back well after an untimely drop in the red zone on the first drive.
“I thought Tyler showed a lot of poise today,” Mullen said.
Overall, MSU outgained Auburn 388 yards to 216, though the majority of those for AU came in the second half.
While MSU had a fumble of its own, as well as giving up a touchdown on the kickoff opening the second half, it was miscues by Auburn that sealed their and Gene Chizik’s fate. Quarterback Kiehl Frazier, who had negative-two passing yards in the first half, threw three interceptions over the course of the game – two to All-American corner Johnthan Banks – and fumbled twice, as well.
Frazier finished the game 13-22 for 125 yards, with no touchdowns.
For MSU, the running backs had a banner day, with all four averaging at least five yards per carry, as Josh Robinson and Derrick Milton had six carries each.
As for the receivers, MSU spread the ball well, led by Green who had four catches for 54 yards and Chris Smith, who caught five balls and racked up 46 yards. Chad Bumphis added in three catches for 47 yards and one touchdown, while Perkins chipped in the pass game, as well, catching three for 17 yards.
In addition to a mostly-impressive offense, MSU’s suffocating defense played a key role, not allowing Auburn to do much of anything until the outcome of the game was well in-hand.
Mullen and the Bulldogs move to 2-0 in the young 2012 campaign, currently first in the SEC West, though that may become a tie before the weekend is over.