Dak Prescott and MSU survived a thrilling shootout on the road at Arkansas 51-50 to improve to 8-3 overall and 4-3 in the conference. Momentum is at an all time high as Egg Bowl week has officially arrived. But before we turn our focus to the Rebels, let's look at five takeaways from one of college football's most exciting games of the season.
Dak builds on his legacy
Just when you thought Dak Prescott had accomplished all he possibly could in an MSU uniform, Saturday happened. He carried the team on his back and then some amidst a fired up Arky crowd. His numbers were mind blowing -- 38-of-50 for 508 passing, 554 total yards, and seven touchdowns. I've never seen him that comfortable in the pocket and make throws look so extraordinarily easy. Had it not been for several drops (I can think of three off the top of my head) he would have completed over 40 passes. That's crazy talk. Fans, enjoy and appreciate No. 15's last game in Davis Wade next week.
Fourth down stop was the turning point
Arkansas had reeled off 28 unanswered points and held a 42-31 advantage late in the third quarter. They were on the move deep in MSU territory. The defense was on its heels so Bielema opted to go for it on 4th and short. Surprisingly they took a shot down field, and Brandon Allen left the pass a little too long to his tight end who was well covered. State then marched 74 yards in three minutes and Prescott finished the TD drive with his legs to close the gap to 42-38. What a huge momentum swing, but more importantly it got MSU back in the game on the scoreboard. Had Arkansas converted and went up 49-31, you could have stuck a fork in the Dogs.
Buy Beniquez a steak
Beniquez Brown was one of the lone bright spots on defense as he led the team with 12 tackles and shut down the Arkansas rushing attack. More importantly, he blocked the potential game winning field goal to save the day in the final seconds. Obviously Dak will steal the spotlight from anybody else on the team, but if this was College Gameday Final I'd give Beniquez a helmet sticker. The guy does nothing but produce every week, and in my opinion he's the most underrated player on the team.
Horrible game plan from Diaz, tremendous one from Mullen
We'll start with the bad and I hate to do this after a win. Brandon Allen killed MSU with the passes to tight ends Hunter Henry and Jeremy Sprinkle. Allen threw for 406 yards and 176 of that came from the tight ends. They also combined to catch five TD passes. MSU's young secondary will make mistakes and blow coverages, but Diaz had plenty of film to see this coming. All I could think about was the Ole Miss game and I wondered if he had watched that film at all. Arkansas has used their tight ends all year and you have to emphasize that to your defense. My guess from what I saw is that Diaz did not.
We all like to criticize Mullen with his predictable and safe play calling, so we need to recognize him after a well called game. The most important change from last week was calling more quick passes to help out the offensive line. He mixed it up at times and took some shots down field as well. MSU has some of the better wide receivers in the SEC, and with effective play calling their strengths are always utilized. It helps to face an Arkansas secondary that has struggled all year, but Mullen put his guys in position to make plays. Will he carry that over to the Egg Bowl?
Same old, same old
Copy and paste here about how awesome Fred Ross and De'Runnya Wilson are. They combined to catch 20 passes and Ross in particular had one of his best games. He caught 10 balls and led all receivers with 154 yards and two touchdowns. The first TD was a highlight reel one-handed grab that landed #1 on Sportscenter's top 10. Ross now leads the conference in receptions for SEC games, and the player closest to him trails by 12. MSU is also the only SEC team with two top five receivers in terms of yardage.