September 19, 2009

Vanderbilt Preview

Mississippi State will be looking to repeat a feat they achieved a decade ago traveling to Nashville and earning a victory over Vanderbilt.

The Bulldogs make the trip to the Music City for just the second time since their 42-14 victory in 1999 and are searching for their first Southeastern Conference road victory since 2007.

"It's another tough SEC road game," said State head coach Dan Mullen. "We'll play two tough road games this early in the season, especially two tough conference road games. Those are always tricky. We've got a lot of work cut out for us obviously playing a Vanderbilt team that is very confident coming off the big bowl season last year. They have a lot of experienced guys coming back. We've worked real hard for this game and anytime you go up there it's a tough environment especially when you play at night time."

MSU and Vandy played for the first time in 1904 but have only met 20 times in the 105 year span. The Bulldogs hold a 11-7-2 lead in the series but the Commodores hold the edge in Nashville 5-4-2.

The Bulldogs brought down the then No. 13 Commodores 17-14 in Starkville last season and snapped their five-game winning streak to start the year. Mississippi State had 247 yards of offense in that contest and held Vanderbilt to 107. Bulldog running back Anthony Dixon rushed for 107 yards on 27 carries against the Commodores last season.

MSU is 1-1 on the year and 0-1 in the SEC following a 49-24 loss at Auburn last week. The Bulldogs surrendered 589 yards to Auburn including 390 yards on the ground.

"I want to see us be more physical against the run," Mullen said. "I think they got us on our heels last week and we weren't real physical. We've got to fit our gaps a little bit better and be more physical and make sure we have every gap covered."

State's offense has scored 69 points in it's first two contests, the most of any Bulldog team since 1974 in the opening two games. Mississippi State is averaging 34.5 points per game and 353.5 yards on offense. The Bulldogs are averaging 202.5 yards on the ground and another 151 yards via the air.



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