The Egg Bowl has wrapped up, and the Mississippi State Bulldogs came out on the wrong end of a 31-17 loss to the Ole Miss Rebels in Oxford Saturday.
All in all, this may have been the worst showing by Mississippi State in 2014, and while some of this had to do with the play of the Bulldogs, Ole Miss had a hand in making it happen as well.
Here are a few thoughts on what went wrong for the Bulldogs:
1. Tackling: stop the forward progress of (the ball carrier) by seizing them and knocking them to the ground.
Mississippi State did not do a good job at doing this throughout the contest, and perhaps it showed at its worst on the long Ole Miss touchdown that proved to be backbreaker in the contest. The Bulldogs should have brought Jaylon Walton down behind the line of scrimmage, but instead he broke off a 91-yard touchdown.
Mississippi State allowed too many kick returners to get extra yards, and that made the battle of field position that much more difficult.
2. Too many long pass plays given up by the secondary.
The Bulldogs did a great job breaking up passes during the game, but all too often, the Bulldogs gave up big gains in the passing game, making it too easy for Ole Miss to move down the field. If Mississippi State had done a better job against the long ball, this score may have been different.
3. The offensive game plan was well...offensive.
The Bulldogs ran far too many plays into the middle of the Ole Miss defensive line, and the Rebels were ready for it. The draws on third down were just terrible. The game management with the clock left much to be desired at the end of the game. For all of the times the Bulldogs got it right this season, they did not get it right in this game.
In addition, the offensive line looked completely overwhelmed for most of the contest, which may have been the most surprising thing of the game.
4. Should Dak Prescott have been on the field after hitting the turf hard?
This is totally in the realm of speculation, but Prescott looked like he had his bell rung. He never looked right on the last few offensive plays of the game. The throws were very high, and one was into triple coverage. None of us know what sort of shape Prescott was in at the end of the game, but he did not look right.
5. It would be quite easy to get negative right now, and yes, those feeling should be there.
However, once a few days pass, fans should be able to look back and really appreciate what happened this year with the Mississippi State Bulldogs. A 10-2 ranking, a No. 1 ranking and threatening to make the the College Football Playoff until the final week of the season. Folks, it has been a great year, and it isn't over, as the Bulldogs should be playing in a New Years' Day Bowl game.
6. It will not be popular, but Ole Miss dominated the contest.
From the get-go, Ole Miss dominated the contest. They go the first points on the board, and Mississippi State was lucky to not be further behind than they were at the half. The Bulldogs had a brief glimmer of hope in the third quarter, but other than that, Ole Miss took the Bulldogs to the proverbial woodshed in the Egg Bowl.
How about a tip of the hat though to De'Runnya Wilson. There may not have been a Bulldog play harder and make more plays in this contest than Bear Wilson. The camera that caught him at the end told the story.