Mississippi State started the Texas Kickoff in promising fashion with FIVE defensive stops of the powerful Oklahoma State offense, which was predicted by many to score north of 40 points. The Bulldogs were also moving the ball moderately well on offense (138 total yards on the first 3 drives). But it led to only a 3-0 lead, and once OSU got the kinks worked out they scored three touchdowns, the Bulldogs struggled on offense and the Cowboys won, 21-3.
Tyler Russell (10 of 16, 133 yds, 1 INT) left the game mid-way through the 2nd half with an apparent concussion. Dak Prescott took over and did fairly well going 7 of 17 for 89 yards and 1 INT, but was unable to get State into the endzone.
The Bulldogs had a handful of injuries. Jay Hughes went down early in the first half and didn't return. Jamerson Love was also injured and did not return. Justin Malone hobbled off the field as well.
Clint Chelf started the game for Oklahoma State but it was J.W. Walsh who led the offense starting with their 3rd drive. He had the option play working to perfection as he ended up running for 125 yards on 13 carries including one score.
What looked like a turning point in the game was late in the 1st half when OSU kicked off following their first touchdown. Jameon Lewis had an excellent return to the OSU 34 yard line. But the offense stalled out and Mullen even decided to go for it on 4th & 17 from the 41 yard line. That looked like it would backfire as Okie State was setting up for a field goal as time expired, but it was blocked and Taveze Calhoun nearly returned it for a touchdown. So as it turned out, it was not a turning point, just a lot of action with no points.
MSU came out flat in the 2nd half. The offense had two 3 and outs and only held the ball for 3.5 minutes. Meanwhile, the Cowboys offense started to click and they drove the field for a couple of scores to put the game away.
We will have more analysis on the blog, and look for one of our newest contributors, War Machine Dawg, and his armchair QB on Sunday. But for now all I'll say is this was an awful day for the offense, in particular the play-calling. We did not hit the hole with quick runs, but instead allowed their defensive line to get penetration and we were stopped at the line of scrimmage countless times. 3rd down continues to be a problem: 2 for 16 in this one. It was truly Woody McCorvey bad. This is certainly concerning as Mullen and Koenning had the entire offseason to come up with a much better gameplan, and I was hoping Mullen would call the plays and it would get better this year.
Where do we go from here? For starters the Auburn game is a must-win. We won't find out much against Alcorn State (although the way FCS teams are playing this weekend watch out), but the offense needs to get there act together before heading to the plains. I'll leave the jury out until that game, but Mullen needs to figure some things out before then, because we've seen enough of the same old thing.