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The Good, Bad & Unknown: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Shoutout to Nick Fitzgerlad’s helmet for coming off and restarting the QB controversy.

Mississippi State v LSU
Dan Mullen watching airplanes in the night sky like shooting stars, cause he really needs a wish right now.
Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

If you were surprised that Mississippi State lost on Saturday, I’m sorry but you’re just doing it to yourself now. The loss to LSU was full of anger and frustration but at least it featured much less Holloway-up-the-middle than the previous weeks. But, as there are just about every Saturday, there were a few bright spots and even one guy that stood out for me that may not be familiar to you. So, let’s get started.

The Good

Fred Ross is still an outstanding receiver... when he’s targeted. Ross only hauled in six passes the whole game, totaling for 86 yards but two were 20+ completions in the closing minutes of the game. So, doing some simple math here, Ross had approximately four receptions for 34 yards prior to those two in the previous 55:05 of football. Let’s look at a pass-by-pass breakdown of his game. Ross has 12 total targets, one of which ended up being a no-play thanks to defensive pass interference, so he effectively had 11 total. 6 of 11 isn’t outstanding but two were broken up by defenders so let’s just say he was 6 of 9 on catchable balls.

All I’m trying to get at here is why was he only targeted 12 times? Out of the 32 passes thrown by MSU QB’s only 37% were directed at our best offensive weapon. The next highest targeted receiver was Donald Gray at 28% and he only had 3 receptions on the day. Bottom line: this offense cannot produce without better QB and receiver play.

Yikes, that kinda turned into a not so good by the end. This weekend was rough.

The Bad

Our run defense was atrocious. Yes, I knew it was going to be rough going against Leonard Fournette but I wasn’t expecting our entire defensive line to be neutralized. He totaled 28 carries and averaged a little more than a first down every two carries, that is not the recipe to winning a football game. It even came down to simple tackling, where you’d see poor Brandon Bryant trying to arm tackle the guy and getting shucked so hard his helmet made a divot in the field. That just tells me that once again, our coaching staff was under-prepared for a game. I will say that they made some adjustments in the second half but the damage had already been done.

The Unknown

Junior linebacker Dezmond Harris had a breakout game Saturday with 5 total tackles and 2 forced fumbles, both of which were against Fournette and one was a turnover. Harris’ 5 tackles now puts him at half of his career high of 10 in a season, after just one game. This is the third week in a row we’ve seen a front-seven player be the unknown of the week so I’m happy to see that we have some constant improvement up front, time for the secondary to catch up. Then just maybe we’ll have a semi-complete defense. What a time that would be.

Was I exceptionally dumb this week? Are you still upset the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead in the Finals? Decompress in the comments below!