The second game of the 2023 Mississippi State football season has been underwhelming so far. Here are three concerning first half stats.
The first half of the second Mississippi State football game of the 2023 season hasn’t been all that fun so far. And there are some very concerning stats from the first half of play from the Bulldogs.
There are a ton of numbers that we could try to parse through and pick apart. But we don’t have a ton of time because there’s more football that needs to be played. The second half is just as important as the first half.
Let’s keep this brief. And so, here are three first half stats that bring me a fair bit of worry:
Mississippi State football vs. Arizona Wildcats: Concerning first half stats
45, the number of first half passing yards
Will Rogers has been efficient, but most of what he’s done has been hand the ball off to one of the Miss. State Bulldogs’ running backs. There’s nothing inherently wrong with running the ball (Justin Strawn and I started a bit of a movement by advocating for a lovely system called #AlwaysRunNeverPass). But, well, this offense isn’t built the same way the 2017 MSU offense was.
And if we’re going to run the ball a lot, why isn’t Mike Wright on the field a bit more? This situation is odd and frustrating.
Either trust Rogers to throw the ball (he’s completed six of his eight attempts for just 45 yards and a touchdown) or bring in Mike Wright more to help add some additional looks to the running game.
Two, the number of third downs Mississippi State has converted
In some ways, this is partially connected to that first concerning stat. Mississippi State’s offense hasn’t been super effective and the Bulldogs have just 161 yards to show for one half of play. That’s not a great showing.
And that’s related in some ways to the fact that the Bulldogs aren’t converting on third down so far.
Kevin Barbay has been making some intriguing play calls and there have been some great opportunities for the Bulldogs here and there, but a lack of consistency and the refusal to really throw the ball around much hasn’t given MSU a ton of converted third downs.
14, the number of points MSU has off of FOUR Arizona turnovers
Here’s where things get really frustrating. Arizona committed a grand total of FOUR turnovers in their first FOUR drives. And yet, Mississippi State only scored two touchdowns and the Bulldogs only lead by one touchdown after the half.
That’s far from encouraging right now.