What did we learn from the first Mississippi State football game of the season? Here are three takeaways.
No one has asked me what I learned in a day since my mom asked after I got home from school. You haven’t asked either, but you’re getting this batch of Mississippi State football lessons anyway.
And you cared enough to click on the link to get here, so no complaining!
Anyway, what did I learn while watching Mississippi State play football against Southeastern Louisiana?
Mississippi State football vs. Southeastern Louisiana lesson 1:
This batch of MSU Bulldogs can run the dang ball
Your curmudgeon of a grandpa can finally quit yelling at the TV every Saturday. Well, maybe not as much anyway.
Mississippi State is gonna quit throwing so many of those newfangled forward passes and is gonna RUN THE DANG BALL more. For the first time since 2019, MSU had a 100-yard rusher in Woody Marks.
On top of that, Mike Wright and Creed Whittemore both tied for the longest run by a State player since 2019.
Think about that. No runs over 50 yards for three years, and then two 53-yard scampers in one game. All in all, MSU had 298 rushing yards in the game!
We got some boys who can run the dang ball this year and we are going to use them. I’d be even more excited if it wasn’t for our second lesson…
Mississippi State football vs. Southeastern Louisiana lesson 2:
We need the big boys to play big
Our offensive and defensive lines both had their struggles in the first half yesterday.
When we had the ball in the first half, our offensive line struggled to create lanes for our running backs. On running back carries in the first two quarters, we averaged only 3.7 yards per carry. Now, ol’ gramps will be the first to point out that that averages out to a first down every three plays, but that is actually, uh, not a good number.
Will Rogers also saw some pressure and had some balls batted down. While I think he could’ve played better, he would have benefitted from some better offensive line play against an inferior opponent.
On defense we looked great on the interior of the line, but really struggled to set an edge to push things back inside against SLU.
Now, in our big guys’ defense, Southeastern Louisiana was pulling multiple linemen on every outside run. The creativity used by the Lions offense was truly impressive. But still, you would expect better for an SEC defensive line against an FCS opponent.
Mississippi State football vs. Southeastern Louisiana lesson 3:
Special teams actually looked special
There have been multiple instances in my time as a Mississippi State fan that I’ve wanted to forsake my normal, 9-5 life and pursue being a special teams coordinator just to fix the stupid that has shown up on the field at Davis Wade.
Shoot, I still get fired up when I remember our punt getting blocked in the end zone during the 2013 Egg Bowl. It’s been 10 years and I’m still bitter. We can go further back and remember punting the ball to Patrick Peterson during our upset bid of LSU in 2009.
KICK IT OUT OF BOUNDS…
On Saturday, we blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown. It was absolutely brilliant. The Lions punt team came out in an unbalanced line, and instead of just lining heads-up and setting up a bland return, we went after the weak side of their formation and got the pressure we needed to block the kick! And then we scored a touchdown! Brilliant! Not lazy! It was beautiful.
On top of that, Kyle Ferrie nailed two 40+ yard field goals and didn’t miss a single extra point. Our special teams was rocking on Saturday and I hope they keep it up.