College Game of the Week: Bulldogs @ Crimson Tide
There were plenty of options to choose from in the PFF College Game of the Week this week, but the top matchup always seemed likely to be the top-ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs taking the short 84-mile trip to face the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Despite being the top-ranked team in the nation, the Bulldogs were the underdog, and it showed early in the game, with Alabama jumping out to a 19-3 halftime lead. Mississippi State was able to keep it close, but too many mistakes from quarterback Dak Prescott meant that they were always chasing the game. In the end, despite a late rally, Alabama held on to win 25-20, but it was a game they never looked like losing.
Mississippi State Bulldogs – Performances of Note
Dak Prescott, QB: -2.2
Breakdown: As has been the case for much of the season, Prescott was successful when he ran with the ball, but struggled throwing, particularly downfield. On passes 10 or more yards downfield he completed just five of 16 for 107 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. They needed a little more out of him as a passer to get past the Crimson Tide, and he just didn’t have it in him on the night.
Signature Play: Q3, 1:50 remaining. He went after cornerback Cyrus Jones often, but on this occasion the throw simply wasn’t there to be made. Forcing the pass, it resulted in an easy turnover for the Alabama defense.
Matthew Wells, LB: +3.3
Breakdown: One bright spot from the game for Mississippi State was the play of linebacker Matthew Wells. He had a solid day against the run, added three hurries as a pass rusher, and broke up the only pass thrown into his coverage.
Signature Stat: Allowed 0.0 Yards Per Coverage Snap, with no receptions allowed from his 29 snaps in coverage.
Blaine Clausell, LT: -5.4
Breakdown: A rough outing for the Mississippi State left tackle, that saw him allow a sack, three hits, and a hurry in pass protection, while losing too many blocks in the running game. Pushed around way too much, it certain didn’t help the Bulldogs’ offense on the night.
Signature Stat: Has a Pass Blocking Efficiency Rating of just 92.3, with five total pressures allowed from 52 pass blocking snaps.
Alabama Crimson Tide – Performances of Note
Blake Sims, QB: +2.3
Breakdown: Was Sims’ performance earth-shattering? No, but it was efficient, and that was enough to see the Crimson Tide stay comfortable throughout the game. He just didn’t make a lot of mistakes, took his shots downfield when available, and added a couple of important first downs on the ground.
Signature Stat: Attempted just 11 passes 10 yards or more downfield, but completed four for 106 yards, with a touchdown and, crucially, no interceptions.
Nick Perry, S: +5.3
Breakdown: Heading into the game if there was a safety going to have a big game you would have expected it to have been Perry’s teammate Landon Collins. That wasn’t the case, though, with Perry coming away with an interception in coverage and adding some impressive work against the run. All told, he finished the game with a total of five defensive stops.
Signature Play: Q2, 12:14 remaining. Taking advantage of a poor throw by Prescott, forced into coverage and wide of the receiver, Perry broke on the ball to record the interception.
Cyrus Jones, CB: +2.1
Breakdown: Throughout the broadcast we were told of how Jones has been targeted heavily since giving up some big receptions to former Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans in his first collegiate game. And while that was true, teams may wish to think this strategy through in the future. Targeted 13 times, he allowed six receptions for 68 yards, but picked off one pass and broke up another.
Signature Stat: Was targeted once every four snaps in coverage, the highest ratio of any cornerback in the game, but his strong performance may deter that in the future.
PFF Game Ball
It was an impressive team performance from Alabama, but nobody impressed quite like Nick Perry, so made his presence felt both against the run and the pass and proved a thorn in the side of the Mississippi State offense all day.
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Mississippi State Offense
Mississippi State Defense