September 12, 2009 11:35:00 PM
AUBURN, Ala. -- It didn''t matter whether it was on the ground or in the air.
Mississippi State had no answer for the Auburn University offense Saturday night.
After only allowing 194 yards to Jackson State in the season opener, the Bulldogs gave up 589 yards to Auburn in a 49-24 loss in front of 85,269 at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
MSU coach Dan Mullen was bothered by an effort that resulted in the Tigers getting 199 yards passing and 390 rushing.
"It''s completely unacceptable to give up almost 400 yards rushing," Mullen said. "That''s not Mississippi State defense.
"We have to do a better job as a coaching staff. I was really disappointed with our coaching staff, especially myself for not putting our players in a better position to be successful."
Auburn scored 14 points in every quarter except the fourth when the game was already out of reach.
The Bulldogs scored 17 points in the second quarter when they had wrestled the momentum away from the Tigers and silenced the crowd.
With 4 minutes, 44 seconds remaining in the first half, MSU''s Patrick Hanrahan blocked Clinton Durst''s punt. Robert Elliott picked it up and ran 10 yards for the touchdown to help give the Bulldogs a 17-14 lead.
It didn''t last long.
After freshman running back Onterio McCalebb broke loose on a 48-yard touchdown run to give Auburn a 21-17 lead with 3:08 remaining in the second quarter, the Tigers cranked up their passing game to build a halftime cushion.
Senior quarterback Chris Todd completed first-down passes of 21, 28, and 20 yards to sophomore Darvin Adams to move the ball to the 1-yard line. Junior quarterback Kodi Burns scored on a run from there with 16 seconds left to give Auburn a 28-17 advantage.
"That drive at the end of the first half gave them the momentum going into halftime," Mullen said. "Our offense never really got it back."
The Tigers hit the Bulldogs with 314 yards of offense in the first half (185 rushing, 129 passing).
It was more of the same in the third quarter.
To go along with his three 1-yard touchdown runs, Burns completed a 13-yard scoring pass to Philip Lutzenkirchen at the 3:52 mark of the third quarter.
Senior Ben Tate added a 35-yard touchdown run to put the Tigers up 42-17 after the third quarter.
"It never entered my mind we would come out and play like this," MSU senior linebacker Jamar Chaney said. "You live and you learn. We''ve just got to go back and see what we did wrong."
The Bulldogs fell behind 14-0 after the first quarter when Burns scored the first of his touchdowns.
Antonio Coleman then intercepted MSU sophomore quarterback Chris Relf (5 of 11, 77 yards, two interceptions) and returned it 20 yards for a touchdown.
"There is still a learning curve (for Relf)," Mullen said. "He''s a young guy with still not a whole lot of experience. I think he did a decent job of coming back from that at times. Chris continues to develop."
The Bulldogs got their scoring started in the second quarter when senior running back Anthony Dixon (20 carries, 92 yards) had a 1-yard run.
Sean Brauchle added a 29-yard field goal.
MSU''s final points came on a 1-yard pass from senior quarterback Tyson Lee, of Columbus, to senior running back Christian Ducre''.
1. Hill wants to be in mix at RB for MSU COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Starkville All-Stars roll to another state title LOCAL SPORTS
4. West Lowndes' Rieves signs with Mississippi Valley State COLLEGE SPORTS
5. Luke charged with keeping Rebels together COLLEGE SPORTS