I must admit, I was worried about a mini-letdown this week against Tennessee. A big trip to LSU looms on the schedule, and when you combine that with how Alabama shredded the Aggies and were playing a team not nearly as talented as them in Tennessee, there was cause for concern. All of that concern quickly evaporated.
|School||Player||Carries||Successful Carries||Yards||Yards per Carry||Success Rate|
|Mississippi State||Josh Robinson||23||15||198||8.6||65.2%|
|Ole Miss||Jaylen Walton||12||2||29||2.4||16.7%|
|South Carolina||Mike Davis||21||10||88||4.2||47.6%|
Look, I know 130 total yards at 4.3 YPC isn't anything special for the top two running backs, but they have done much worse against a comparable defense this season. The fact that Yeldon and Henry combined for a 53.3% success rate means they got the necessary yards more often than they didn't, and that is enough for me. Yeldon probably would have had better numbers if it weren't for a minor foot injury, which cause him to lose balance on more than one occasion Saturday night. I was surprised not to see Tyren Jones get a look in this game, but I was happy enough with the win. On to LSU.
1) When I was in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium three weeks ago, I was positive Alabama had found the way to beat Ole Miss' defense. When Ryan Kelly went down, that entire plan was thrown out of the window. However, LSU was more than happy to provide the complete blueprint. Ram it up the gut until they beg you to stop, then ram it some more. LSU's three top backs had a combined 47 carries. This is a team that knows its identity. Those are always the most dangerous squads to play late in the season.
2) We might have already known this, but Ole Miss is not a team that can run the ball consistently. I'm not sure if it's the offensive line having issues or just their play-calling, but this could prove to be an even more fatal flaw. Bo Wallace is often their leading rusher, and although he is a good athlete, that is not going to be enough to make it to Atlanta.
3) Josh Robinson is a full grown man. I knew he would be a decent player for Mississippi State this season. I did not think he would be the best running back in the conference two-thirds of the way through his team's schedule. It's been a joy to watch him up to this point, but I will be sick watching him on November 15th. He's a load and might be one of the hardest men to bring down in football.
There wasn't much out of the ordinary in terms of the success rate. We might have expected Ole Miss to beat LSU, but I think we all saw LSU running the ball at least 40 times. Missouri's backs played very well against Vanderbilt. Arkansas did Arkansas things, and Tennessee did Tennessee things.
Now that Alabama enters into their toughest stretch in recent memory, which team scares you the most? Is Ole Miss just not as good as we (I) originally thought? Is Auburn the most under-the-radar top-5 team ever? Let me know what you all think in the comments. And, as always, thanks for reading!