Smith on SEC: Interesting to see which teams show best 'character' moving forward

Danny P. Smith

Sports Editor

Character was a word used from both sides after Mississippi State’s 23-9 victory over Auburn last Saturday.

The Bulldogs felt the true character of their team was on display against the Tigers as they broke a two-game Southeastern Conference losing streak.

“Sometimes those tests of character, reveal it,” MSU head football coach Joe Moorhead said in last Saturday’s post-game press conference. “I think our character as a team was revealed. The message is to remain consistent.”

It was quite a response for the Bulldogs after two tough performances against Kentucky and Florida.

On the other side, Auburn took quite a hit as it now has a two-game skid in the conference.

Quarterback Jarrett Stidham also used that word “character” when evaluating the status of the Tigers and where they go from here.

“I think people’s character comes out whenever you are under adversity,” Stidham said. “All of the way up, top to bottom, a lot of character is going to show right now. We have lost two games in conference play in the West (Division) and it would be really easy for our guys to get down on themselves.

“I think a lot of character is going to show here and that is where I need to step up as the leader and not let this loss affect us.”

At the halfway point of the season with six games down and six to go, it appears the SEC Western Division championship is all but out the window for both MSU (4-2 overall, 1-2 SEC) and Auburn (4-2, 1-2).

Alabama (6-0, 3-0) seems to have a firm hold on the top of the West. It has defeated three divisional opponents (Ole Miss, Texas A&M and Arkansas) already and has done it impressively.

Of course, anything can happen and there’s always a chance the Crimson Tide will lose if they have a bad day. Those don’t happen often.

The Bulldogs and Tigers, both LSU and Auburn, will get their chance against Alabama in the second half of the regular season. It will be interesting to see if those matchups will make a difference in the West.

Back to MSU, it is enjoying a much deserved open week after such an emotional and physical home victory. Hopefully the rest the Bulldogs get this week will prepare them well for the stretch run.
Games against LSU, Texas A&M, Louisiana Tech, Alabama, Arkansas and Ole Miss remain on the schedule for MSU. The Bulldogs only need to win two of those outings to become bowl eligible.

The teams that show the best ‘character’ moving forward will reap the reward and experience the most success.

Danny P. Smith is the sports editor and columnist for The Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SDN or its staff.