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Mississippi State is tried and true SEC stock and looked every bit of it against Memphis. But can the Wildcats be as physical as the Bulldogs, especially up front? Zona's offensive line verses the MSU's defensive line will be the answer to the game.
Tim Daniel, NFL Game Scout, Football Writer
TUCSON, AZ The Cactus Junky Report
This could be interesting. The pressure of it all.
Mississippi State super villain/genius of offense, head coach Mike Leach versus Arizona’s NFL coach, Jedd Fisch. The Bulldogs quarterback Will Clark and Wildcats QB is a fun matchup to watch. A ton of weapons for MSU at the receiver spot, and depth at running back and receivers for Arizona.
So where does it give? If Arizona is able to block an SEC defensive line.
If this game was last year, it is a 45-7 blowout by MSU. But this is a new year, and the country saw the beating Arizona put on San Diego State.
But this is the SEC and people are expecting a Pac-12 beat down. However it goes, it will definitely come from the defensive line of Mississippi State.
The key to this game is stopping the run and putting pressure on Arizona quarterback, Jayden De Laura.
Arizona is not as deep at receiver as Mississippi State, but they do have the best receiver of the night, Jacob Cowing.
Three returning starters for the Bulldog defensive line are back. And they will be the showcase of the game unless Arizona offensive coordinator Brennan Carroll has added a new wrinkle to the Wildcats’ offensive line to stop them.
Show if you haven't figured it out by now, this game is going to fall directly on the defensive line of Mississippi State and the offensive line and Arizona. Mississippi State has three returners starting and they are a true SEC-style defensive line.
Here lies the problem for Arizona. Was San Diego State a fluke game? Before the season, one of the worries was the men up front for the Wildcats. But they had a pretty decent showing against the Aztecs. San Diego state's defensive line is nothing like Mississippi State but there was success there. What they're going to see is strength, size, and a lot of movement and they are going to go after De Laura to try to stop the run.
This game falls on the laps of the Arizona offensive line. Mississippi State has three returners who are now starting. And they have a fourth in Jordan Davis who is probably one of their best who just came back from an ACL surgery.
Jaden Crumedy, Cameron Young, and Randy Charlton are the ones to contend with. Arizona does have the best freshman lineman in the P12 in Jonah Savaiinaea at guard, but can sophomore center Josh Baker hold up against a true SEC defensive line?
If a middle-of-the-road SEC team is beaten by a PAC 12 team, that P12 team is definitely one of the tops in their conference or should be.
Oregon failed miserably against Georgia, and football people, like me, saw that coming. But Mississippi State is definitely not a Georgia. The biggest surprise and disgrace of the P12 SEC is Utah losing to Florida. Florida is a mediocre SEC team and will continue to lose some games and, of course, it will hurt Utah’s chances for a potential post-season run.
The pundits say the PAC 12 can't beat an SEC team. Jedd Fisch is an NFL coach standing on the sidelines and his game plans show it. Can Arizona win the game? Sure, but they need to run the ball as well as any Arizona team has in the last 10 years. If Arizona cannot run the ball and there is pressure on De Laura, this is a 40-21 game.
But this is a perfect opportunity for Arizona to show that Jedd Fisch is changing this program with an Arizona win, 31-27.