Mississippi State Football: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly vs Texas A&M

Oct 1, 2022; Starkville, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs wide receiver Rara Thomas (0) scores a touchdown against the Texas A&M Aggies during the fourth quarter at Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 1, 2022; Starkville, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs wide receiver Rara Thomas (0) scores a touchdown against the Texas A&M Aggies during the fourth quarter at Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports /

The Bulldogs Win Again! That’s a comment I don’t think I will ever get tired of saying at least not in my lifetime. This past Saturday, The Mississippi State football team really put on a show in Davis Wade Stadium in front of 51,930 fans and a whole lot of cowbells. This was a great victory for the Bulldogs and added some momentum heading into this week’s matchup against Arkansas. I do believe that Arkansas will be the toughest match-up we have faced this season so far.

Yes,  I understand the Razorbacks have lost their past two games, first against Texas A&M on the road by just two points and then again, this past Saturday against Alabama at home. Against Alabama, the Razorbacks went up 26-24 over Bama going into the fourth quarter before Bama pulled away. Let me be very clear, Arkansas could have and should have won both games.

Currently, the Razorbacks are uncertain about the availability of their starting quarterback KJ Jefferson, who suffered a mild head injury against Alabama. This situation could play out to be a major shift in the way Mississippi State develops its game plan. Situations like this really impact both teams in a negative way when preparing their game plans. Let’s all hope and pray KJ Jefferson is fine and available this coming Saturday. With that being said, let’s talk HailState football: the good, the bad, and the ugly against Texas A&M.

The Good – Mississippi State Football

Well, I was beginning to wonder if I would ever use these words when referring to a Mike leach Offense but here it is ”Balanced.” For the first time under Leach, the opposing team had no idea what Mississippi State’s offense was up to next. Saturday, the Bulldogs put up 144 yards on the ground with one rushing touchdown by Dillon Johnson. On the other hand, Rogers threw for 329 yards and three touchdowns. Rara Thomas had his best day yet with the longest passing touchdown of the season going for 75 yards. Both Caleb Ducking and Rufus Harvey also found the end zone through the air.

Last week, I spoke about whether Mike leach was truly committed to the run game, but I guess I can put that question to bed after Saturday’s performance on the ground. Both Jo’quavious Marks and Simeon Price averaged over seven yards per carry on the day while Johnson raked up 68 yards through 14 touches, but that’s not all!

How about the defense and special teams? The defense had that bend but don’t break mentality against Texas A&M. Once again Jett Johnson led the way with five tackles, but it was Emmanuel Forbes that stole the show with two interceptions and yes, one to the house and if that was not enough Forbes blocked a field goal attempt that was returned for a touchdown. I can definitely see some Sunday football in this guy’s future. To sum up the good, this was the best all-around performance that I have seen from a Mississippi State football team since 2014, and that says a lot.

The Bad – Mississippi State Football

Maybe it was just me, but it just seemed like the officiating was sketchy. I mean I’m very impartial if you know what I mean, but it just seems that on several calls there was an effort to slow Mississippi State’s offense down or to just help Texas A&M. The worst was the targeting call against Nathaniel Watson after stopping the aggies who went for it on fourth down in the third quarter. The call allowed the Aggies to maintain possession of the ball which resulted in their first points of the game with a field goal. The worst part of the call is that we lose Nathaniel Watson for the first half against Arkansas.

Just another small item I would like to throw in here not to be picky, but can we please figure out how to kick a field goal on a consistent basis? I understand that in this game one missed field goal attempt did not make a difference, but it will during this season, and this is an issue that goes way back. I mean does South Alabama ring any bells, no pun intended?

The Ugly – Mississippi State Football

The Texas A&M football program and progression. Since Jimbo Fisher arrived in College Station in 2018, the Aggies football program signed 12 five-star athletes and 61 four-stars to the football program. I might be wrong but that is probably more five and four stars than Mississippi state has signed in like maybe “ever?” So here is the ugly in this observation. Jimbo Fisher is one heck of a recruiter. I mean he could probably sell rain in a Hurricane, but he has no idea how to develop a football program much less his players.

Going back to 2016, Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen signed Jeffery Simmons and in 2019 Coach Moorhead signed five-star DL, Charles Cross. Both players were drafted in the first round after their third season. That is called development by the program. This does not mention the multitude of Mississippi State athletes around the NFL that were developed in Starkville.

All of these highly rated athletes that put their trust in the Texas A&M program could very well fall short of their professional goals due to the lack of proper development and recognition, due to a coach, that I don’t believe is up to the task to properly develop a D1 program or its athletes.

Prediction Week Six

This is the exact prediction write-up that I used last season, but it is the same situation this year so I will play it again. This will be a much different game than last week. Arkansas can hang around and they can push teams around. Mississippi State must control the tempo on both sides of the ball. First, by stopping the Razorback run game and second, by controlling the game and the clock on offense. Play clean, limit mistakes, and we win three in a row.

Mississippi State: 31

Arkansas: 24