Peeps, that was big, but costly, win yesterday. Losing both LaDarius Perkins and Tyler Russell are big blows. The positive is the team fought hard all day and found a way to win in a place we've never won. I've seen us lose games like yesterday more times than I can count. To the observations:
1. We unsurprisingly got off to a slow start. There was clearly some Bama hangover, as expected. It took about a quarter and a half for the D to shake it off and wake up. But once they did, it was fun to watch.
2. Mayhem Continues: Forced 3 more turnovers yesterday with an INT and 2 fumbles.
3. Nickoe Whitley made the play of the day. Absolutely stripped and stole the ball from Arkansas' RB when it looked like they were about to make a go ahead score late in the 4th. Get the man a helmet sticker, he earned it.
4. DLine didn't have their best day, but still made a couple nice plays. Overall, probably the least impressed I've been with these guys.
5. Denico Autry had a good day......finally!!! But I'm putting it into the "blind squirrel finds a nut" category at this point.
6. Chris Jones continues to prove why he's going to probably be the best to ever put on the maroon and white and be a high First Round NFL Draft Pick.
7. Beniquez Brown is also going to be a special player. His speed at LB is impressive and he always seems to find his way to the football.
8. I was a bit disappointed with our tackling, but Arkansas' RBs are very good. I dread having to face Williams for 2-3 more seasons.
9. Taveze Calhoun gets a helmet sticker. He was big all day, then sealed the win in OT with the 4th down pick. But for the love of all things maroon, GET ON THE GROUND AND DON'T RETURN IT!
1. The circus continues: Blocked FG, missed FG. I can at least partially forgive the block considering it was nearly 50 yards and into a 10 MPH wind. But you expect an SEC kicker to make that kick. Mullen should be subjected to a public flogging for his failure to recruit a kicker.
2. One of the big momentum swinging plays was the fake punt. Denico Autry just absolutely blew up the play and the rest of our guys ran to the ball.
3. I liked the decision to use Baker with the wind conditions being what they were. His hang time and ability to negate returns was huge, forcing Arkansas to have to sustain long drives to score.
1. Tyler Russell played well, but certainly wasn't 100%. Some of his throws lacked the usual zip, but some of that could have been the wind. But the fact remains that he still made the same mistakes he always makes. Held the ball to long on the opening drive, sack, drive dead. Late throw to Holloway on the corner route for an INT. What sucks is that he had about 3 TD passes absolutely dropped. But one of those was his fault when he badly underthrew Tubby. I'm sad to see his MSU career likely ended with another injury. But he was all guts yesterday, despite the mistakes.
2. I continue to be extremely impressed with Damian Williams. Whatever "it" is, the kid has "it." He made some nice plays in regulation, both running and passing. Then he gets forced into the game for OT because TR goes down and all he does is rip off a game winning 25-yard TD run on the very first play. I'll be very surprised if he doesn't come out and play well against the Bears this week.
3. Josh Robinson is a man. 17 carries, 101 rush yards......in ONE HALF. I really hate that Perk got injured, but JRob proved what I've been saying: It's a crime he doesn't get 15+ carries every week. And he's got good hands, too. It should also be noted he made the key block to spring D-Will in OT. Sweet Baby Jesus, please let us give him the rock on Thursday night, because the Bears will struggle to stop him.
4. Derrick Milton continues to have fumblitis. I'm pretty sure he'd fumble if you super glued the ball to his hand then wrapped duck tape around his hand and the ball. He's going to completely disappear from the depth chart when Aries Williams gets on campus next fall. I'd look at moving him to FB in the spring, as he might have some value there.
5. Perk was having a solid game prior to the injury. He was over 5 YPC and made some nice cuts to get himself into the open field. But best of all, he was being used in the pass game and made some huge plays. Loved his heart to fight to get into the endzone. I hate to say this, because I know how some people will take it, but I really hope his ribs keep him out on Thursday night. JRob is the tougher back for Mississippi to stop.
6. I thought we had a good gameplan. We actually ran the ball really well, especially when JRob got into the game. We were also able to take some shots downfield, just didn't hit them.
7. Our WRs have GOT to start catching the football. 3 TD passes dropped yesterday. The only one I'm semi-willing to forgive is Fred Ross, because he's a true freshman.
8. Bear Wilson's push off was really obvious. He's a true freshman in only his 2nd year ever of football. He'll learn how to "legally" push off without getting caught and use his strength with time. But I love the effort. You can't teach "That ball is mine" and Wilson clearly thinks that.
9. Tubby continues to be Tubby. Another big game from him and our best big play threat.
10. I LOVE how physical RoJo was yesterday. He was trucking DBs after the catch. He's quietly become a very good possession WR for us. I want to see him even more involved with the offense.
11. Our OL held up well, all things considered. We ran the ball effectively and only gave up 1 sack, or at least only 1 that I remember. But the hit that took TR out was a breakdown by Gabe & Day. And a dirty shot from Arkansas' DT driving TR shoulder-first into the ground. But that's football.
12. Pre-snap penalties: Only 1 pre-snap penalty that I remember, but it was costly. Gabe false starts on the final drive of regulation, backing us up 10. Considering Gabe may have 1 penalty in the previous 10 games, I can overlook it for him. But that still shouldn't happen, especially from your all-world OG.
1. I thought Mullen actually coached a pretty good game yesterday. There were probably 2-3 questionable calls and they are getting all the focus, as usual. The biggest to me was putting Milton into the game when he hasn't played in probably 2 months. Why not stick with Shump?
2. We managed the end of regulation about as well as we could. We tried going for the TD instead of leaving it to a FG, which was the right call. But then we have 3 big execution breakdowns with Gabe's false start, Bear's PI, and TR getting injured. We got backed up and did all we could do, attempt the FG with 30ish seconds left.
3. Loved the call of the inside veer with Williams in OT. Mullen was basically telling him "We have confidence in you. Go win it."
4. First win in the state of Arkansas. Huge to get that monkey off the program's back.
5. I thought the guys showed a lot of grit and toughness to shake off the Bama hangover and gut out the win. Wish I knew why everyone seems to think R-Kansas has quit, because they clearly haven't. Their ground-and-pound attack fits the talent of their recruiting base perfectly and will be a big pain stopping going forward. They're absolutely loaded at RB for the foreseeable future.
6. Something doesn't pass the smell test with Mullen announcing that Dak is out "probably until a bowl." He never plays his hand like that, so why do it now? We also all know that Mullen doesn't discuss injuries. He was *probably* being honest, but WMD's gut says something is a little off there. We shall see on Thursday night.
7. I wanted to punch Andre Ware in the throat just to shut him up. He's awful and clearly does zero research.
8. It's Egg Bowl week. I can't overstate how much WMD loathes the RebeLandSharkBlackBears. Beating them with a 3rd string QB to get bowl eligible is going to be epic sweetness and will result in much WMD trash talk.
9. Let's put the in-fighting on hold for 5 days and focus on making the Bearz Thanksgiving a living hell. I think we can all unite behind the idea that we hate them and they hate us. Give 'em hell this week, show up in Starkville wearing maroon, and be loud & rowdy. The crowd will be a HUGE factor for us with D-Will likely to start at QB.
You guys know the drill. Fire in the hole!
In Mullen We Trust,