Through the first half in Starkville, Alabama looks disinterested in the game. While Alabama does lead 10-0 over Mississippi State, the offense has looked lethargic through thirty minutes. Wide receivers aren’t winning very often against the Mississippi State secondary which is leaving Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron scrambling far too often. The Tide offense has netted 170 yards so far, and without TJ Yeldon tearing off a pair of runs for a total of sixty-five yards, the numbers would look even worse.
If there is a silver lining to the awful night by the offense, it’s the Alabama defense. The Alabama defense has held Mississippi State to 101 total yards on 25 plays. Furthermore, roughly forty of those yards came on pass plays where Cyrus Jones took the wrong playe
r in combination coverage and another where Jarrick Williams fell down. The defense is playing very, very well. The best indicator of how good the defense has been? After AJ McCarron’s interception, they stonewalled the Bulldogs and forced a three and out.
Potential halftime adjustments: Focus more on the run. Alabama’s wide receivers are not having a very good game thus far. Use the run to pull more Mississippi State defenders into the box and open up the pass.If receivers still can’t win individual battles? Run, milk the clock, and throw the game onto the defense’s shoulders. On defense, it is primarily execution. Small mental mistakes like Cyrus Jones’s are very correctable. Fix those, and Mississippi State will gain few yards in the second half as the Alabama defense flattens what has been a pitiful offensive display from the Bulldogs.