Though it may not have always been pretty, Mississippi State notched their fifth straight win over Kentucky. It is the only team in the SEC that Mullen is undefeated against that he has played every year.
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Yards per pass
Yards per rush
Individual Stand Out Performances
Dak Prescott was given the reins to the team and I can only hope has established in the mind of Dan Mullen that he gives this team the best chance to win based on the system we run. I will continue to reiterate this about Tyler Russell: it is mainly due to the system we play that Dak gives us our best chance. In a system that catered to Tyler’s talents, I think he could thrive, but that simply isn’t what we have. That doesn’t mean Dak is perfect either. He took some costly sacks when we couldn’t afford them. The biggest problems teams have when they have a mobile quarterback is they don’t always know when to give up on a play. It worked out great on his first TD pass, less so later on in the game.
We continue to show that we have an extremely effective running game. If you take the sacks away, we would have had close to 200 yards rushing and almost 5 yards a carry. The big sacks really brought those numbers down. The offensive line is great at run blocking, not so much on pass blocking, adding to the reasons we need to stick with Dak.
There are a few things that need to be addressed.
- Second Half Offense: We entered the game averaging 7 points a game in the second half. Guess how many points we scored in the second half last night? 7. At some point we have to put teams away in the second half, or start putting pressure on teams to make mistakes and capitalize on them. This just can’t continue.
- Penalties: This is the second straight week we have show a lack of discipline and racked up some costly penalties. And I am going to address Nickoe Whitley all by himself.
- The Kicking Game: Devon Bell has a cannon for a leg. It just isn’t accurate. He should be able to make some of the field goals that he misses, and the one he missed was no gimme, but he shanked it so badly. It’s mental with him. I saw a lot on Twitter about people questioning why Mullen had him punting some last night, and it is because he has such a powerful leg. I think Mullen has been looking for a way to get him some confidence, but I think he scrapped that plan after Bell muffed the snap in the end zone.
- Nickoe Whitley: He has not played the way he is capable all year long, and last night was just pathetic. Two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties in three plays gets him ejected and basically gave Kentucky three points. It gave them some momentum and they were able to carry it a little bit into the second half. I don’t know if he is getting frustrated, but the way he just waved Mullen off after he was ejected makes me think he simply doesn’t care anymore.
Kentucky had just reeled off 9 straight points thanks to the Bell muff in the endzone, and they had apparently succeeded in catching Mississippi State offguard with a surprise onside kick. A highly questionable offside penalty bails the Bulldogs out, and to the credit of the team, they took advantage of it by scoring their only points of the second half on the drive that followed. It put Kentucky in a deeper hole, which you never want to be in if you are a team that struggles to put points on the board.
Play of the Game
With Kentucky trying to drive late in the game to take the lead, They faced a 4th and short situation at about midfield. They were obviously going to go for it as the clock was winding down. The Bulldogs loaded the box to stop a short run, but somehow either Sanders or Kemp (can’t remember which one it was) were able to break through the congestion on the line of scrimmage and make it to the secondary. The only thing stopping him from scoring a touchdown was an incredible shoe string tackle by Kendrick Market, who was probably only playing in that situation because Nickoe Whitley had gotten ejected for his boneheadedness earlier in the game. Way to step up in a big situation Market!
We get a slightly longer week to prepare for South Carolina, who will either be reeling after their third loss of the season to Missouri (which I expect) or completely rejuvenated after pulling off their own upset. We might be catching them at the right time. South Carolina has a penchant for collapsing in the back half of the schedule, but we might have earned that same reputation after our performance last year.