X-Factor – La Tech Edition


Every week there will be one player or coach who will be considered the x-factor.  The x-factor is the player/coach who will really need to perform well that week, in order for the Dawgs to come away with a win.  Essentially the x-factor is the make-or-break position on the field for that week.

This week the Bulldogs welcome in a familiar opponent in Louisiana Tech.  Mississippi State Bulldog fans have come to learn to never take this week lightly.  In 2008, the final year under Coach Sly Croom, Mississippi State traveled to Ruston for the season opener.  In a very questionable move, Coach Croom chose to fly the team down ON GAMEDAY, and Mississippi State left with their tails in between their legs as the Bulldogs out of Ruston got the best of the Bulldogs from Starkville.  Then in 2011, LaDarius Perkins caught a ball from Chris Relf in the endzone to claim a victory in overtime.  So Mississippi State fans know that Louisiana Tech always comes ready to play.  This year should be no different.

The Bulldogs of Louisiana Tech bring in a high powered offense that averages just under 500 yards per ballgame and 39.5 points per game.  They are led by former Florida Gator quarterback Jeff Driskel who averages 302 yards per game through the air, with 11 touchdowns and only 3 interceptions.  Kenneth Dixon leads the rushing attack as he averages 116 yards per game en route to 6 touchdowns on the season.  Lastly, Trent Taylor leads the receiving corps with 105 yards per game and 4 touchdowns.  This team will be no stranger to big stages.  They went into Manhattan, Kansas and nearly upset the Kansas State Wildcats, with the end result being a 39-33 loss in 2OT.  So you can count on La Tech coming into Starkville expecting to win this game.

The x-factor this week seemed to really jump out at me when you look at the La Tech offensive numbers.  Jeff Driskel is not afraid to sling the ball all over the field, and he seems to be very comfortable throwing to Trent Taylor.  Therefore, the x-factor of the week will be Will Redmond.  If Redmond can shut down Taylor, then Driskel will be forced to go to his second and third reads all day.  When quarterbacks get uncomfortable in the pocket the tend to make mistakes.  Also forcing him to go to his other reads, gives Manny Diaz’s defensive line more time to get to the quarterback.  That is just what Mississippi State needs in order to come away with a win.  Manny Diaz is going to dial up pressure, but if Will Redmond cannot cover Taylor on Saturday, it won’t matter how much pressure it coming.  Before the season started Mel Kiper called Redmond one of the best corners in the class.  The time has come to prove Kiper right.  Redmond needs to show that there is some substance to that statement.  Look for Will Redmond to have a big game on Saturday.