No matter what, Auburn's pass rush will fight to the finish
The Tigers got after Mike Leach's Air Raid attack after a slow start, and it almost won them the game. Up next? A night game in JHS against a very vulnerable offense.
EDGE Derick Hall (Todd Van Emst/Auburn Athletics)
On Mississippi State’s first drive Saturday night, quarterback Will Rogers went 3-5 for 38 yards against Auburn’s defense. On the second drive, he went 4-4 for 78 yards and a touchdown. He then went a perfect 4-4 again on the third drive.
After getting the ball in great field position off a turnover on downs, Rogers threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to put the Bulldogs up 17-0. He had barely thrown any incompletions, and he had only been pressured once. It looked like he was going to pick apart Auburn’s defense in a blowout.
But on his fifth drive, after a screen pass went for no gain, Rogers was sacked by Auburn defensive tackle Jeffrey M’ba. The ball popped out on the hit, and it was recovered by edge rusher Dylan Brooks.
The energy wasn’t all on Mississippi State’s side anymore. And few people inside Davis Wade Stadium could have expected what came next. The strip sack was the first of nine consecutive scoreless drives for Mississippi State’s Air Raid attack. Rogers was stripped on the very next possession, and he would throw an interception a couple of drives later.
The streak would pave the way for Auburn to come all the way back from a 21-point deficit and take the lead in the fourth quarter. Although the Tigers would fall short in overtime, they were able to make their first big second-half rally of the season thanks in large part to a defense that looked overmatched early.
“Early on, the defense gave up yards,” interim head coach Cadillac Williams said. “But, I mean, those guys just kept serving, kept fighting. We said we’re either going to fight or quit, and we’re going to see who’s going to quit. Then nobody quit.”
When it came to Auburn’s pass rush, nobody quit — and it might give the Tigers some more new life heading into the final three games of the regular season.
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