Mississippi State football vs. Southeastern Louisiana takeaways
All in all, it was a good showing for State.
They dominated a team they were supposed to dominate, saw several players have breakout performances, played clean, and with Tulu Griffin going back into the game, it at least appears they made it out without any major injuries.
And of course we got exciting special teams play with a true freshman kicker nailing both his FG attempts and a blocked punt TD. That’s all you can ask for in a buy-game.
But it wasn’t all perfect.
State got off to a painfully slow start offensively. The offensive line had some whiffs in both run blocking and pass protection. You didn’t see State start to consistently win in the trenches on offense until late in the game when their depth overtook SLU. Their execution has to be better starting out in games going forward.
Will Rogers never looked sharp in this game.
He threw several inaccurate passes, and had a few questionable decisions. You can likely chalk up most of the miscues to the transition on offense. They’ve been running one of the most unique offenses in the sport for the last three years. I know many believe the change in scheme will suit them better, but it’s still going to be a process.
There’s little to complain about on defense aside from the one long drive SLU put together. Poor tackling and an inability to contain the edge on defense (along with the miracle catch) led to points for the Lions.
De’Shawn Page was a surprise starter at SAM, as he’s been the backup WILL to Jett Johnson and doesn’t have the frame of a SAM backer in this defense. He seemed to struggle, and I thought State contained the edge better with JP Purvis in the game at that spot.
I was very curious to see how the secondary would perform with four new starters and SLU having good weapons in their receiving corps. But nothing really stood out there. There were no real coverage busts and SLU didn’t have much success at all in the passing game. But how much of that is the defensive front getting pressure as opposed to coverage? Admittedly it’s tough to tell without all-22 film. I suppose no news is good news for now.
Ultimately, Mississippi State did what it needed to do on Saturday. There are some mistakes that need correcting before facing Arizona, but it was a good start to the year.