Mississippi State Offense
The Passing Game
The Bulldogs do a lot of bootleg passes off of play action. They are a ground oriented team this year and want to control the clock and time of possession. Here we see the quarterback run a naked bootleg and with three eligible receivers at different levels he has a choice to throw or run the ball.
The Bulldogs do not do a lot of straight drop back passes with long routes. If they run multiple long routes, they will use play action or get the quarterback out of the pocket to buy more time. Look for short hitch routes, crossers, and slants when they have 3rd and 5 or similar yardage.
The Running Game
MSU wants to be a run oriented team. They start the games running the ball and until they start falling behind. With quarterback Omar Conner and his athleticism back, their running game will be improved.
Here we see the Lead Iso play. The linemen block man up on the defensive line in front of them. The playside guard helps with the defensive tackle and pushes him inside while the playside tackle pushes the defensive end outside. The fullback bursts through the hole and the running back makes his cut off of the fullback's lead. Jerious Norwood is the running back and pretty good one at that. He cuts off of his blocks well.
The Zone Stretch allows all the offensive linemen to take the same path and mow down defenders in their path. The running back follows the zone path and then cuts upfield when a crease opens up. This is probably a little less effective without the true speedback that can get to the outside and take off. MSU is much more likely to run it inside.
Mississippi State Defense
MSU plays a lot of Cover 1 and Cover 3 base defenses. They don't blitz alot, but they use these two to disguise their zone or man coverage at pre-snap, Here, we have a Cover 1 where all of the eligible receivers are covered by a defender. The free safety cuts to the deep middle of the field while the strong safety cuts to the short middle of the field and acts as a robber. This basically takes away the middle of the field but leaves the outside open to the 1 on 1 coverage.
Here we have almost the same exact pre-snap alignment, but instead of man coverage, we see a full seven man zone. The linebackers create a short net and divide the short field in fourths with the strong safety. The free safety again cuts to the deep middle of the field and the corners drop deep past the short zone of the linebackers. The deep hashes should be a good spot to hit along with quick flat throws before the linebackers can get to their zones.