STARKVILLE, Mis. - For the past two years Mississippi State has given Auburn all the Tigers could handle on the field. But each time saw the Bulldogs come up just short on the scoreboard.
Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen
MSU will get another shot at Auburn on Saturday when both teams play their SEC opener. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. at Davis Wade Stadium.
“We’ve been right there and had opportunities to win and didn’t pull it out, so I think our guys are motivated,” said MSU head coach Dan Mullen during Sunday's teleconference. “They know how big it is and we always put that emphasis on the first conference game of the season. It’s so important.”
Since arriving at MSU and taking over the program in 2009, Mullen has managed to defeat rival and SEC West foe Ole Miss in all three meetings. But against the rest of the SEC West Mullen and the Bulldogs are 0-12.
"They'll be ready to go, fired up and ready to play," Mullen said of his squad. "I think they're going to be ready to find a way to pull it out here in the end this year."
MSU opened the season with an expected blowout of Jackson State 56-9. Meanwhile, Auburn faced a much stiffer test in Clemson and fell 26-19 in its' season opener. Sophomore quarterback Kiehl Frazier earned his first collegiate start and finished with an 11-of-27 showing for 194 yards with one interception and one touchdown pass.
Mullen is very familiar with Frazier due to recruiting him over two years ago.
“We recruited him out of high school and he has all the skills,” Mullen said. “You watch him, and he’s got the size, the skill to be a dropback passer but he also has that extra edge of athletic ability. He can create and keep plays alive with his feet. I know he did that some last night and I’ve seen him do it in the past.”
Also during Sunday's teleconference, Mullen was asked on the availability of the trio of suspended Bulldogs in the opener - defensive tackle P.J Jones, cornerback Jamerson Love and receiver Ricco Sanders. Mullen noted that they would announce their playing status prior to kickoff against Auburn.