MSU head coach Dan Mullen broke out his bag of tricks as a special teams coach Thursday night including a recovered onside kick at the start of the second half.
The second-year head coach told his team before the game the plan was to try that on-side kick after the first touchdown. However, a after-the-whistle penalty on the extra point by fullback Patrick Hanrahan didn’t allow the Bulldogs to go with the trick play.
“We get the personal foul and we don’t want to do it from our own 20,” Mullen said.
Hanrahan, a senior fullback, recovered a muffed punt by Auburn in the first quarter when Tigers returner Quindarius Carr was nailed with a perfectly timed hit on a high punt to give MSU perfect field position in the redzone.
Mullen once again mentioned in the post-game interviews his frustration with the kickoff performance of senior Sean Brauchle as the Biloxi native’s line-drive efforts allowed for a 33-yard return average for Auburn.
MSU even got a blocked field goal from defensive tackle Fletcher Cox with two minutes left in the game.
“I come out at halftime and I’m watching Sean warm up and he’s getting great height and depth on his kicks,” Mullen said. “Get to the kickoff and it’s a line drive to the 10. That’s the execution that we have to get cleaned up as a team.
Let’s do this again
Mississippi State officials confirmed to the Starkville Daily News before Thursday’s kickoff that the university has been approached by LSU and the ESPN family to have next year’s game in Starkville on Thursday night.
The Bulldogs athletic department wouldn’t confirm that anything in the negotiations have been finalized as of Thursday but said all parties involved are open to continuing its talks.
The last time the two teams met on a Thursday night in Starkville ended in a blowout victory for the road team as the second-ranked Tigers left Davis-Wade Stadium with a 45-0 win.
The announced attendance of 54,806 Thursday night represented a fifth straight sellout dating back to the 2009 Homecoming game against Houston.
Mississippi State has now played 14 times on Thursday night ESPN telecasts dating back to a victory over 13th-ranked Florida in 1992. The Bulldogs 17-14 loss puts their school record as 6-9 in these games.