The Dan Mullen Era at Mississippi State got started with a bang as the Bulldogs captured their first win of the 2009 season over the Jackson State Tigers.
Overall, the team performed well. They will definitely need to step it up to compete with other SEC Teams. On the offensive side of the ball, we missed that brusing "up the middle" run game that Anthony Dixon brings to the table. When we tried going up the middle with Ducre or Stallworth, it just wasn't working. The play of QB Chris Relf, especially in the second half, was good. He seemed to settle down and make the accurate passes that he needs to make. Freshman wide receiver Chad Bumphis made his presence known with 2 touchdown receptions - his only 2 receptions of the entire game.
One the rushing side of things, our leading rusher was QB Chris Relf. He showed his athleticism by being able to tuck the ball and run. His option-keeper for a touchdown was the offensive highlight of the first half for me.
On the defensive side of the ball, again, was a great effort. This game was all about field position and the defense was able to keep Jackson State in check. There were some issues with the JSU receivers just absolutely blowing buy our DBs. The penalty that Mitchell got for grabbing the jersey of the receiver was because the receiver was out running him. The defense also stepped up with pressure on the JSU quarterbacks and interceptions at key points in the game. The Tigers were held to -15 rushing yards in the first half.
Because of the large lead that State built up, Mullen was able to get playing time for lots of folks, especially on defense where they want to be deep and have the ability to rotate players in most of the positions - an important part of playing defense in the SEC.
Next weekend, the team will travel to Auburn to face off with the Tigers in Jordan-Hare Stadium.