Mississippi State Football: Bulldog Defense Rises up to Preserve Homecoming Win

Nov 7, 2020; Starkville, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs defensive end Marquiss Spencer (42) runs the ball after an interception. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 7, 2020; Starkville, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs defensive end Marquiss Spencer (42) runs the ball after an interception. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports /

Mississippi State Football: The Defense Bends but doesn’t break as the Bulldogs Hold on for the Victory

The Mississippi State Football team held on to a homecoming victory over the Vanderbilt Commodores. This win was much needed and ended a four-game losing streak for Mike Leach and his Bulldogs.

The Mississippi State fans watching in the stands and at home had to endure what looked like a comeback for Vanderbilt. The defense would save the day, forcing six turnovers including on downs.

The offense jumped out to a 17-0 halftime lead, but Vanderbilt would find its footing scoring 14 points. At one point, the Vanderbilt defense forced seven straight three and outs.

Tyrus Wheat would force a Vanderbilt fumble, and the Bulldog offense was in business. Jo’quavious Marks would score a few plays later, and the Homecoming win would now be secured 24-17.

With the win, Mississippi State improves to 2-4, and Vanderbilt falls to 0-5. I know, it’s Vandy, but a win is a win in the SEC. Mississippi State will host #24 Auburn next week.


Rogers Successful in Debut as a Starter

Will Rogers stepped on the field for his first start and quickly led the Bulldogs to a touchdown. Rogers would go on to lead Mississippi State to its first victory since the Bulldogs upset LSU. Mike Leach has never started a freshman quarterback.

He had no choice this week as KJ Costello was out with an injury. Rogers did not disappoint as he was for 35-46, 226 yards, and a touchdown, setting a Bulldog freshman record for completions in a game.

Rogers still has room to improve, but he executed the offense well enough in his first start. The Bulldog offense would find plenty of resistance in the second half as Mason made the adjustments to keep the Bulldogs from blowing the game open.

Other offensive leaders for the Bulldog were Malik Heath (9REC, 79YDS), J. Marks (10 YDS RSH1TD 7REC, 22YDS), Dillon Johnson (4YDS RSH, 1TD), Jaden Walley (5REC, 43YDS), and Osirus Mitchell (4REC, 32YDS, 1TD)

The Offensive Line still needs work.

The Bulldog offensive line was missing Charles Cross and Kam Jones at tackle today. The line blocked well enough to open passing lanes for Rogers in the first half.

The second half was a different animal as Rogers was sacked a couple of times and was pressured a lot in the second half. If the Bulldogs are to turn around the season and keep winning, the offensive line issues must be remedied.

The Defense Loses the Shutout but kept the Commodore Offense Marooned

The Bulldog defense kept Vanderbilt scoreless in the first half. The Commodores would find the end zone in the third quarter as Ken Seals found Chris Pierce in a crown for the score. Vanderbilt started to find some success moving the ball, but the Bulldog defense refused to allow a Commodore comeback.

Keyon Henry-Brooks scored the second touchdown of Vandy’s night with a 25 yard run up the middle. Vandy would kick a field goal to make the score 24-17 Bulldogs. The onside kick was unsuccessful, and the Bulldogs would run out the clock to secure the victory.

Here are the Defensive Leaders for the Bulldogs on the night.

Martin Emerson, Aaron Brule, Landon Guidry, and Marcus Murphy has 10 tackles each.

The 5 defensive turnovers were secured by Erroll Thompson (7TKL,1INT), Colin Duncan (6TKL,1 INT), E. Furdge (1TKL, 1FR),  Marquis Spencer (6TKL, 1INT, 1.5 TKL), and Tyrus Wheat (6TKL, 2SK 2FF, 1FR)

light. Related Story. Mississippi State up 17-0 on Vandy at the Half