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Ranking the Mississippi State Football Performances of 2013: No. 10-Bowling Green

Not too many people came to Starkville expecting Mississippi State to have to make a defensive stand at the end to knock off the Bowling Green Falcons, but that is what it took for the Bulldogs to win on homecoming.

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

In a homecoming affair, the Mississippi State Bulldogs squared off against the Bowling Green Falcons at Davis Wade Stadium.  In a game that Mississippi State seemed to control early, the Bulldogs held on with a little help from Bowling Green to pick up the 21-20 victory.

Offensive Performance: 2 out of 5 stars

The Bulldogs did not have a bad night offensively, but they did not do anything great, coming up short of some of their season averages in this game.  On the plus side, the Bulldogs took the ball down the field on the opening drive for a touchdown, and both quarterbacks had fairly solid numbers against the Falcons.

Defensive Performance: 3 out of 5 stars

The Bulldogs held Bowling Green in check most of the night, giving up 384 yards to the Falcons.  Penalties, which in fairness happened on both sides of the ball, ended up helping Bowling Green keep drives alive and move down the field.

Had the Bulldogs managed to keep the Falcons from picking up a last minute field goal in the first half, this would have been a solid three-star performance instead of a soft three-star performance.  The defense also deserves some credit for their play in the fourth quarter, even though they may have gotten a little lucky on the last drive Bowling Green drive, the defense played the entire fourth quarter knowing that stops were a must given the stalling of the MIssissippi State offense.

Special Teams Performance: 2 out of 5 stars

The special teams play that stands out in the game is Devon Bell hitting the right upright from 44 yards out with 13:08 to play in the game.  That miss changed much of the offensive thoughts in the game for Mississippi State, and later with just minutes left, Dan Mullen had his team go for a fourth and short from inside the ten-yard line instead of kicking a field goal.

In the other aspects of the special teams, the Bulldogs did a good job with kickoffs and returns on average for the game.

Individual Performances: 2 out of 5 stars

Looking back at the game, no one player had what could be called a standout performance, but many players did turn in solid performances.  Four defensive players were credited with quarterback hurries, and nine players were involved in backfield tackles.  Dak Prescott and Tyler Russell put up good numbers for the time they were in the game.

Quality of the Opponent: 3 out of 5 stars

Even though no one knew it at the time, Bowling Green went on to win the MAC Championship.  While a middle of the road SEC team should not struggle with a MAC school, those things still happen.  In 2012 Florida struggled to close out this same team in The Swamp.

Final Average: 2.4 Stars