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What We Learned From Mississippi State’s Victory Over South Carolina

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NCAA Football: South Carolina at Mississippi State Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

1) Nick Fitzgerald is an exciting option to watch

Dan Mullen and Mississippi State found their quarterback. Nick Fitzgerald’s athleticism, frame, and potential make this offense very dangerous. While Fitzgerald isn't as consistent as Damian Williams, and he makes a few questionable passes into coverages, Fitzgerald’s ceiling looks to be very high.

Fitzgerald still looks like a runner first and a passer second, but that skill set can be developed better as he gains experience. And his running ability makes him the perfect fit in Dan Mullen’s offense.

2) Dan Mullen found his fire again

It started from the very beginning of the game. Dan Mullen looked intense. He looked livid. He found his fire again. While everyone, including myself, was calling for Dan Mullen’s seat to start heating up, Mullen and the team worked on becoming significantly more intense.

Sure, the second half lull was still present, but the team was firing on all cylinders for most of the night. And it isn't like the weather delay didn't kill some of the momentum and energy from the venue.

If Dan and the team can sustain this intensity for an entire season, then the Bulldogs will find themselves in the midst of games that we counted them out of just a week ago

3) Westin Graves is a reliable option at kicker

He looked shaky a week ago. Today, he was perfect. Today was the perfect motivation builder for everyone on the team, and in the stands, but the one guy that was likely impacted the most was Westin Graves.

Even though a handful of fans in the student section around me booed his name and the fact that the last second missed field goal was everywhere on Twitter, and every other part of the Internet, Westin looked like a new man out there today. This game was perfect for Westin to regain his confidence.

4) The front seven is loaded and can be disruptive

Oh, man. These guys looked great. From AJ Jefferson to Richie Brown to Jeffery Simmons. These guys were stout. They constantly got pressure on both of South Carolina’s quarterbacks, and did more than just simply disrupt their game. These guys were a force to be reckoned with tonight.

On top of that, their ability to shut down the Gamecocks running game and force South Carolina to beat the Bulldogs through the air helped keep Mississippi State comfortably ahead all evening.

5) The secondary looks improved

Yeah, small sample size. Yeah, South Carolina still made plays here and there. Yeah, there were a few blown coverages. But given what we saw a week ago, it was great to see these guys fired up and tackling in space.

The cornerback position is still a project, but it likely will be all season. Despite all of that, the secondary looked sharp, for the most part. If they can continue to improve, then hopefully we will never see a repeat of South Alabama carving us up.