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The Good, Bad , and Ugly from MSU’s 28-21 win over Arkansas

NCAA Football: St. Petersburg Bowl-Miami (Ohio) at Mississippi State Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Remember last year when we kept finding new and excruciating ways to lose ball games. Well this year, Dan has turned that philosophy on its head and is finding the most interesting ways to WIN ballgames. I realize that Saturday was not the nice trip to Fayetteville we all envisioned for our team that was within a couple plays of beating #1 Bama, but nonetheless, these are the games that show more about our team then a 25 point blowout of BYU or Kentucky. We showed out grit. These are the games that we need to remember come 2018 when our backs are against the wall against better opponents as we attempt to do something special. Games like this go a lot farther psychologically for our players. They know that they can play a bad game and still win, which is all that matters. We did could not do this last year. This team is evolving and could reach its peak in 2018 as we all hoped. Let’s take a look at the usual:

The Good:

• Nicky Fitz continues to find ways to win ball games despite not playing especially well. Fitz is the Jekyll and Hyde that everyone loves to pick apart and this game did nothing to change that. For 3.5 quarters, Fitz struggled to find his rhythm and could not break loose running the ball. Yet when crunch time hit in the 4th, he came up big with some clutch throws, including the 2 TDs, and that last one was a picture perfect throw. The enigma that is Nicky Fitz continues to perplex Bulldogs everywhere but we happily accept the W’s he provides.

• Kylin Hill is a SCARY runner of the ball. He almost ended yet another player’s career with a stiff arm that put a dent in the field. I am a big A-Train supporter, but the 2 headed attack of A-Train and Hill next year will cause physical pain to many defenders next year, and I am all in on that.

• We need to enjoy Jeffery Simmons and Montez Sweat while we still have them because they are in the elite class of DL and will both be professionals soon. Simmons still has another year before he can go pro but Sweat is a possibility of entering the draft this spring. This is one of those situations that I love to hate as an MSU fan. On one hand, I want Sweat to come back and form possibly the best front in the SEC next year beside Simmons and eligible Chauncey Rivers. On the other hand, sending players to the pros early is a good thing for the program and something you sell to recruits they want to hear. I’ll be proud of him and whatever decision he makes, especially if he comes back. Please come back.

• Speaking of enigmas people can’t figure out. MY BOY Jonathan Abram had himself a game Saturday. He led the team in tackles with 5. He forced a nasty fumble on the scrambling QB in which he just ripped it out of his hands. He was flying around the field and always around the ball. Ultimately, he will be remembered for not falling on the 20 yard fumble that Arkansas recovered and scored a TD on a few plays later. WOOF. I for one am willing to look the other way and say his good outweighs his bad on a whole this year but that fumble was not a good look.

• Overall, the defense played a great game. They were the victims of three crazy plays in the punt off the helmet, the Gibson fumble, and 20 yard forward fumble which all yielded TDs. Take those freak plays away and they gave up nothing. This was just a weird game.

The Bad:

• Nick Gibson’s fumble was not good. Our RB’s have done a great job all year of protecting the ball so it is only poetic that the one time we do fumble it results in a TD for the defense. He will shake this off and redeem himself I feel sure. Just a bad moment.

• Remember that guy Jamal Couch who everyone was excited about a few games ago. Where has he gone? I saw him on the field and even a pass go his way but he has been nonexistent the last few games which is not good as we need his size and playmaking ability more than ever. I am saying this as some might remember I called out Jamal Peters a few weeks ago and he responded with a pick 6 the next game. I am doing this for Couch’s own good going into the Egg Bowl. Expect a 45 yard TD reception over 2 DB’s now. You’re welcome.

• Jace Christmann is human and missed a FG. How dare he miss a 46 yard field goal on a cold, wet day with 20mph winds swirling around. Guys it’s okay, he will be fine and there is nothing to see here.

The Ugly:

Cam Dantzler had a rough day. First he got hit in the head by an errant punt which shifted the early momentum of the game to Arkansas and started the uphill battle for the Dawgs. Then, late in the game he received a DUMB personal foul penalty in which he came flying in well after the whistle and right in front of the ref to smoke an Ark player who was jawing with Simmons. Cam, calm down. You cannot lose your head in these types of games. Luckily, the personal foul penalty did not yield any points but in a tie ball game against better teams, we will be punished for mistakes like that. I know the game was not really going well for you but you need to control your emotions. He is a young player and this can be a learning opportunity for him. While most say put this game behind you, I hope he remembers this game and uses it as fuel for the rest of his career.

Well, ladies and gentleman, it is the most wonderful time of the year. It’s EGG BOWL WEEK. Our time to hopefully put the proverbial nail into the TSUN/Blackbear/Rebel/Landshark’scoffin before the impending NCAA buries them 45 feet deep. I will have my formal opinion and expectations for the game later this week in Purdum’s Prudent Perception but for now, I will just say that this game is ours for the taking. We are 2 TD+ favorites, at home, going for 9 wins versus a team with no heart, no coach, and the tidal wave of the NCAA about to make landfall. It’s simple, #alwaysrunneverpass to yet another demolition of our favorite rivals. Hail State and GTHOM.