Mississippi State provides major challenge for Falcons (10-11-13) PDF Print E-mail
Written by By JACK CARLE Sentinel Sports Editor   
Friday, 11 October 2013 07:41
No black and white horror films for the Bowling Green State University football team this week.
Instead, the film work has been in living color, and it’s even more scary than those old Friday night Lon Chaney and Bela Lugosi movies.
The Falcons have been getting ready to play at Mississippi State on Saturday. Kickoff is at 7:37 p.m.
The Bulldogs, from the SEC, are the toughest opponent on Bowling Green’s schedule this season. Mississippi State is 2-3 overall with wins over Alcorn State (51-7) and Troy (62-7), and losses to Oklahoma State (21-3), Auburn (24-20), and LSU (59-26).
‘‘Watching the film it’s clearly a different level,’’ BG head coach Dave Clawson said. ‘‘Across the board, the matchups get tough ... We are going to have to be really focused, really locked in, and play at a very high level.
‘‘We had better buckle it up and be ready to go,’’ he added. ‘‘We’re going to have to execute at a very high level on both sides of the football.’’
Defensively, the Bulldogs have a number of talented athletes.
‘‘On defense they can run in the secondary and at linebacker,’’ Clawson said. ‘‘Their (defensive) front is beautiful ... They are long, they are lean, they’re athletic, they’re strong, they’re good pass rushers.’’
The Bulldogs’ line includes tall ends, and starting tackles who weigh 290 and 295 pounds. Also Chris Jones, a freshman defensive end, who is 6-foot-5, 305 pounds, has been a force in the backfield in the last three games with three tackles for lost yardage and three quarterback hurries.
Free safety Nickoe Whitley is tied for the career lead among active Football Bowl Subdivision players with 13 interceptions, including three this season.
Linebackers Benardrick McKinney and Deontae Skinner, are MSU’s top tacklers with 28 and 26 tackles, respectively.
Clawson said the offensive keys for the Falcons are to ‘‘sustain drives, eat up the clock, and when you get in the red zone, score touchdowns.’’
Offensively the Bulldogs are just as scary with big-time playmakers in quarterbacks Tyler Russell and Dak Prescott, running back LaDarius Perkins, and wide receiver Jameon Lewis.
And you can throw in left guard Gabe Jackson, a 6-foot-4, 335 pound, senior, who will move on to the National Football League next season.
‘‘The style of offense is challenging,’’ Clawson said. ‘‘They spread you out, they get in empty formations, they get in one-back sets, they motion people.
‘‘When you boil down what they do, with their power option, their power read game, and zone read game, you are defending in some degree triple-option football,’’ Clawson continued. ‘‘They give you a lot to prepare for in terms of their scheme, in terms of their talent.’’
In its last 22 trips into the red zone, MSU has scored 20 times, including 14 touchdowns.
Perkins rushed for 1,024 yards and eight touchdowns in 2012, earning first-team all-conference honors.
‘‘If you can rush for over 1,000 yards in the SEC, you’re a big-time back. In watching him, he’s excellent,’’ Clawson said.
Lewis has emerged this season to make 19 catches for 359 yards and two TDs.
‘‘Lewis is lightning fast. SEC defenses have a hard time getting him on the ground,’’ Clawson said.
Russell is the throwing quarterback and Prescott is the running quarterback.
Russell is Mississippi State’s career leader in touchdown passes with 39, including two last Saturday against LSU. For his career, Russell has completed 67.7 percent of his passes for 4,845 yards.
Prescott leads the team in rushing this fall with 318 yards, and he has scored six touchdowns. He’s also thrown for 815 yards and three scores.
Clawson said the biggest challenge for his defense is tackling the Bulldogs.
‘‘When you play a team like this, the mistake is really costly. The mistake isn’t a 5-yard play, it’s a 60-yard touchdown,’’ Clawson said. ‘‘If you’re going to give up those big plays, it’s going to be a long day. Mississippi State has the talent to make those plays.’’

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