Mississippi State Football:Can Leo Lewis And Nick Fitzgerald Replicate Their 2016 Success?

STARKVILLE, MS - OCTOBER 8: Wide receiver Keith Mixon #23 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs celebrates with quarterback Nick Fitzgerald #7 after he scores a touchdown against the Auburn Tigers during the second half of an NCAA college football game on Oct. 8, 2016 in Starkville, Mississippi. (Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images)
STARKVILLE, MS - OCTOBER 8: Wide receiver Keith Mixon #23 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs celebrates with quarterback Nick Fitzgerald #7 after he scores a touchdown against the Auburn Tigers during the second half of an NCAA college football game on Oct. 8, 2016 in Starkville, Mississippi. (Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images) /
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COLLEGE STATION, TX – OCTOBER 28: Keith Ford #7 of the Texas A&M Aggies rushes for a touchdown in the third quarter defended by Erroll Thompson #40 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs and Leo Lewis #10 at Kyle Field on October 28, 2017 in College Station, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
COLLEGE STATION, TX – OCTOBER 28: Keith Ford #7 of the Texas A&M Aggies rushes for a touchdown in the third quarter defended by Erroll Thompson #40 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs and Leo Lewis #10 at Kyle Field on October 28, 2017 in College Station, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

Mississippi State football wasn’t great in 2016. It was better in 2017. How much would having these two improve help in 2018?

Yes, as a whole, the Mississippi State football team was better in 2017 than it was in 2016. A large part of that comes from the incredible improvement of the defense under Todd Grantham’s lead rather than Peter Sirmon’s direction.

And, as a whole, that improved the Bulldogs.

But, when MSU’s defense gave up large gashing runs and was horrible at pass defense in 2016, it afforded Leo Lewis more tackling opportunities and put the Bulldogs’ offense on the field more. And, with the offense on the field more, that means that Nick Fitzgerald was given more chances to make plays, lead drives, and score touchdowns.

And, well, he did that. Very, very well.

But, as was previously discussed both Fitzgerald and Lewis weren’t as dominant as they had been the year prior. And, in 2018, the Mississippi State football team will face plenty of tough opponents.

Florida, Auburn, and Texas A&M are all coming to Starkville. Mississippi State will travel to Kansas State, Alabama, and LSU. None of these games should be simply written off right now. The Bulldogs will need both of these players (as well as quite a few others) to play at their full potential against these opponents.