Robinson is certainly on to something. As #3 Mississippi State hosts #2 in a mid-season showdown with powerful post-season implications, the Bulldogs can see so much wonderful stuff coming within reach. Carpe opportunity maybe?
What is certain is that this is the biggest build-up to a Bulldog game in many a season. It began as soon as Mississippi State walked off Scott Field with a decisive victory over Texas A&M; saw this week’s home game picked for the CBS prime slot; and accelerated when pollsters jumped the Dogs not just into the top-ten but the program’s highest ranking ever.
And just for good measure, came the word ESPN’s trademark College Gameday show would broadcast from outside Scott Field this Saturday morning. For a personable pup like Robinson, well…
“You grew up watching College Gameday! And the first time in Mississippi State history to come here, that’s a blessing.”
For his part running back Robinson has blessed the Bulldog offense with real ground-pounding prowess. In his first season as starter, the junior is fourth in SEC rushing at 118 yards per outing. He likely would rank higher too, if not for that fellow handing him the football. Or not, since quarterback Dak Prescott nets 91 yards-per himself.
Each has scored six rushing touchdowns, too. Though as Robinson mock-peevishly pointed out Saturday, Prescott’s 11-yard touchdown tote to seal the victory could and even should have gone to him.
“Oh yeah, I talked to him right after that play, as soon as we got off the field!” Somewhat more seriously, “But as long as we come out with the win that’s all that really matters.”
With this tag-team powering Coach Dan Mullen’s spread-option attack wins have been coming for the 5-0 Bulldogs, most notably consecutive successes over #8 Louisiana State and #6 A&M. Where State had thrown the ball around liberally in non-conference wins, the ground game has come to the forefront for SEC season with an average 291 rushing yards and seven of the eleven touchdowns scored afoot.
Blocking, scheming, the field-spreading receiver threats are all factors. Yet it can’t be denied Robinson and Prescott have something special going. What’s the surprise, Robinson wonders?
“We already knew as soon as we first got in here that we were going to have this tandem. But it’s just all come together. The world is seeing what we’ve been working on for the last three years.”
The football world focus falls on Scott Field this weekend, for sure. For Mississippi State the elements are all-time; highest (or lowest mathematically!) matchup of ranked clubs ever to collide on campus; first time ever to face three top-ten teams in order and of course chance to run such a trifecta; first this, that, and other either since-when or ever. When the Bulldogs beat A&M Mullen talked about the game atmosphere being “what big-time football is all about.” So what does that make this weekend?
Robinson enjoys the building buzz. At the same time this personable pup is mature enough to know business is at hand. Scouting Auburn is the best way to find full focus.
Last year at Auburn, in a game settled with 10 ticks remaining, “I didn’t really play too much,” Robinson said. “But they won the SEC West and went to the national championship, so they’re a quality team.” Now a starter Robinson knows he will play lots, and lots, and lots more. So he’s watching the Tiger defense closely.
“They look exactly like our defense. They have a great d-line, great linebackers, and the secondary looks pretty good. But we just have to play our ball and we should be fine.” And hey, if the units are so comparable, that ought give the State offense something of a jump on planning, right?
“Because I just see our defense all over again. Preparing against them guys, I know we’ll be fine.”
In that case, Saturday really will be quite a day to carpe in any language.