There comes a time when all the dust has settled, all the uniforms have been collected, washed and stored, team members have gone their separate ways some forever and some for summer vacations. When that time comes we can sit back and reflect on what we accomplished and what might have been. That time is now.
The 2015 football season had many of us chomping at the bit to see what Dak had to show us for his senior season. Those who were suppose to be "in the know" about the SEC predicted us to finish dead last but the Mississippi State faithful knew better. Tickets were purchased and travel plans made in the hope of seeing our beloved Maroon make new memories that would be talked about for many years.
We began with the Hattiesburg Buzzards. We struggled and were somewhat frustrated in a 34-16 win but as the year developed USM was proven to be a pretty good team. We came home to play LSU but didn't seem totally awake at the beginning. After a poor start we outplayed this team for a second year but just couldn't quite get over the top to beat them again.
A blow-out of Northwestern State followed that, then we took a trip down to the plains where disappointment has visited us many times. I heard and took crap from the Aubie people but I stood firm against another set of buzzards. The Bulldogs put them away and sent them into a season long tail-spin. Man was it awesome seeing them hang there heads on Monday.
Texas A&M was hard to watch and endure. It was there for the taking but a lack of a running game was catching up to us and mistakes ultimately sealed our fate in a game we should not have lost, period. We then went on a 4-game run where all cylinders seemed to click again and we climbed to 3-2 in the SEC one week deep into November.
Now, it was time for the trifecta of Alabama, Arkansas and TSUN. Alabama, well they were Alabama again. The lack of a running game and a Swiss-cheese offensive line made for a long day as Dak was sacked more times than groceries get sacked at Wal-Mart.
Arkansas was a slug fest with both teams refusing to lose. Arkansas was trying to drive to their best season in several years but Dak played his best game of the year as we prevailed in OT 51-50. Only the hated black bears of TSUN stood in our way of a winning November and a strong finish to the season. I will always love the Dawgs but we were outplayed and yes I think out coached from the beginning.
Even so we accepted an invitation to the Belk Bowl where we played a NC State team that was suppose to whip our behinds. Again the ESPN and SEC network analysts gave us at best an even chance but the Dak attack exploded one last time as his college career came to an end.
A 9-4 finish is a keeper. The success of last season and the growth of our program into a consistent winner is a real positive. Yes maybe we could have won a couple more games but we have gotten to the point where we expect to win now.
No longer are those 2-10 and 5-7 seasons taking up roost at Davis Wade Stadium. We have a coach in Dan Mullen who knows how to win and leads his staff to develop our recruits, motivate them and use discipline like a loving father does with his children. I think he will continue to lead our program and do the right thing with his young men. It may not always be the popular thing but I believe he will do the right thing.
Predictions for next year are coming soon but I know as long as we have the coaching and administration we do now we will grow in positive ways.