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Short fields, turnovers put Auburn's defense in a hole
Oct. 11, 2014

Auburn's Josh Holsey flips Dak Prescott in Starkville

By Charles Goldberg

STARKVILLE, Miss.  In the second half, linebacker Kris Frost was saying, Auburn did a better job containing elusive quarterback Dak Prescott.
But Auburn still couldn't overcome the turnovers it committed and the short fields that resulted in two quick Mississippi State touchdowns. The Bulldogs needed only to drive 33 and 32 yards for touchdowns in the first 3½ minutes for a quick lead, and 15 yards for a late score, on the way to a 38-23 win Saturday in Starkville.
Auburn held State to 10 points in the second half. But Auburn scored only 10, too.
"We dug ourselves a hole. We tried our best to get out of it, but it was too late," said defensive lineman Angelo Blackson.
"The game is about momentum. There are momentum shifts everywhere, but at the end of the day, we were just too deep in the hole. We just kept making mistakes against a great team."
Momentum had the cowbells ringing early and often and seemingly within the rules in Davis Wade Stadium.
"Life on the road in the SEC is loud," said Auburn coach Gus Malzahn. "You've got to do something to block the crowd. We didn't do a whole lot to do that."
Auburn's defense had come into the game having been masterful on third downs, holding its last two SEC opponents to no first downs on their last 18 third-down tries. But State was 8-of-17 on third downs.
"They made their big plays. They just capitalized," Blackson said.
Auburn forced five fumbles, but recovered one. They also intercepted three passes, two by Jonathan Jones. The Tigers, after allowing 315 yards in the first half, allowed 154 yards in the second half.
Prescott wasn't the picture of consistency. He threw three interceptions and fumbled. But when he did have the ball, he was 18-of-34 passing for 246 yards and a touchdown, and was running for 121 yards and two more scores.
Frost said Prescott "gave us some problems running the ball as well as his decision-making. He's a really smart player. He just did a great job. He did exactly what we expected him to do. We tried to our best to contain him, gave him different looks and blitz, and we came up a little short.
"In the second half, we felt a whole lot better about the pressure we were getting on him and forcing bad throws. At the end, we got better toward the end of the game, but we came up short."

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:



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