Who is Alabama’s biggest challenger in the SEC West? After one half of play in Starkville, we’re a little closer to figuring out if either No. 12 LSU or Mississippi State are the answer but there remains plenty of time to sort things out in the first big division battle of the 2017 season.
As expected, the Tigers and the Bulldogs were locked into a bruising struggle that featured plenty of tough runs and hard hitting defense typical of this series lately, with the home team clanga-ing (sorry) to a 17-7 lead at halftime on Saturday night.
Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald had to fight and claw his way for every yard but still managed to go 8/13 for 84 yards in the first half, scoring both of MSU touchdowns on a pair of scampers to the end zone while racking up 44 yards on the ground. Running back Aeris Williams was the real surprise though, nearly hitting the century mark with 91 yards rushing and a lofty seven yard average per rush.
While things were going okay for the Bulldogs offense, the same could not be said for the Tigers. Danny Etling struggled to move the ball through the air (four completions, 34 yards) and didn’t free up much room at all for Heisman candidate Derrius Guice (66 yards rushing).
There were just five third downs converted in the entire half so you do get the impression that this will be another extremely close game that could come down to the wire with a few big plays being the deciding factor. Not exactly a surprise given the makeup of these two teams but it certainly could make for a fun final two quarters among the cow bells.