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Mississippi State vs Arkansas: Three Takeaways

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NCAA Football: Arkansas at Mississippi State Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

1) The future of the offense is bright with Nick Fitzgerald at the helm.

Nick Fitzgerald had a phenomenal performance against the Razorbacks. He totaled well over 400 offensive yards and had 6 touchdowns in the most complete and dominant performance of his career. He finally looked comfortable passing and had no problems gaining yards and touchdowns on the ground.

Dan Mullen can build around that. With Aeris Williams in the backfield to compliment Fitzgerald’s running abilities and receivers like Keith Mixon, Donald Gray, Malik Dear and Farrod Green at tight end, the Bulldogs should be able to field a potent offense going forward. They just need to find something that resembles a defense. And speaking of that...

2) There is no quick fix for the defense.

Firing Peter Sirmon is at the top of a lot of MSU fans’ wish lists for Christmas right now, but firing Sirmon does not guarantee that the defense will improve instantaneously. Make no mistake, much of last night’s loss falls on Peter Sirmon’s shoulders, his defense was gashed for an abysmal amount of big plays in the first half that allowed Arkansas to build a comfortable lead.

However, Mississippi State is on its third defensive coordinator in as many years. In addition to the revolving door at the coordinator level, Dan Mullen had to assemble an entire new cast of position coaches in the offseason after several big departures for other jobs.

And that coaching overhaul that was done this past offseason is a big reason as to why the defense has been so poor lately. Scheme changes and different styles of coaching are tough to overcome when the changes happen so quickly. While moving on to a fourth defensive coordinator in four years might be the right move, there’s no way to predict as to whether or not the defense will miraculously improve or if they’ll continue to struggle.

3) The Egg Bowl is going to feature a stupid amount of offense.

And we get to takeaway three. One game remains for the Bulldogs and it’s the Egg Bowl. Ole Miss has had a remarkably unremarkable season and has fallen from being ranked 11th in preseason polls all the way down to 5-6. Mississippi State and Ole Miss are currently tied at 2-5 in conference and the loser of the Egg Bowl will get to be at the bottom of the SEC West.

Last night, while Arkansas made our defense fall flat on its face, the worst offense in the SEC hung 38 on the Rebels. Vanderbilt ran for 3 touchdowns on 208 yards and averaged 4.5 yards per carry while also throwing for 273 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Nick Fitzgerald and Aeris Williams will have their chances to gash Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl. Unfortunately, we’ve seen far worse offenses than Ole Miss have plenty of success this season against the Bulldogs’ defense. The matchup between Mississippi State and Ole Miss will likely become a shootout. Hopefully the Bulldogs can come out on top this time.