Mississippi State broke an 8-game losing streak on the road in the SEC against the Vanderbilt Commodores tonight in Nashville. Tyson Lee sealed the deal with a 22-yard touchdown run to put the Bulldogs up 15-3. An interception by Damien Anderson put the game securely in the win column with 2:33 left in the game. This was really a great all-around effort by the Bulldogs. The offense performed well against a tough defense, the special teams had great coverage, and the defense was much improved over last week.
Mississippi State racked up 341 yards of total offense, with over 260 of those yards on the ground. Anthony Dixon had his first 100 yard game of the year, racking up 123 total yards on 21 carries, averaging 5.9 yards per carry. Those are numbers I can take any day of the week. Dixon had a long run of 40 yards to put him over the 100 yard mark. He is only 3 yards shy of taking over the #2 spot on State's all-time rushing list. He is also 395 yards away from taking the #1 slot from Jerious Norwood.
In the air, State completed 10 of 18 pass attempts for 81 yards. Tyson Lee saw much of the playing time, with Relf coming in occasionally to give Lee a rest and put a different look on the offense, often carrying the ball himself out of the option. Relf racked up 44 yards rushing himself.
After a poor showing against Auburn last week, all eyes were on the defense to see how well they would rebound against the Commodores. They did not disappoint.
Vandy was held to only 33 yards and only 157 yards total. Their main offensive weapon was the pass, racking up 124 yards in the air.
The most impressive play by the defense was holding Vandy to a field goal early in the second quarter inside the 5 yard line. The interception by Anderson to wrap the game in maroon and white was great as well.
The kicking game really won this game for us. Sean Brauchle was 3/3 on field goals with a long kick of 49 yards. Heath Hutchins put us in great position with 8 punts for 321 yards and the coverage teams kept Vandy from running anything back on us.
There were a lot of great plays made on the field tonight. Who gets a helmet sticker?
Sean Brauchle was perfect tonight. There were times that I would close my eyes in horror when we had to bring our field goal unit on the field. I think Brauchle has erased my need to do that.
I have to give a helmet sticker to Leon Berry. This JUCO transfer has turned out to be a great all-around player for us. He averaged 13.3 yards on kick returns, 16 yards on punt returns, and had a long punt return of 35 yards. As he develops more in the offensive system, I see him being a valuable asset for us.
Big props to Tyson Lee for correctly reading the zone defense and pulling off the 22-yard run to give us the only touchdown of the game.