In 2014, the Mississippi St. Bulldogs destroyed the LSU Tigers for most of the game, before LSU made a furious comeback would come up just short. This would be the start of a three game stretch that catapulted the Bulldogs from unranked to the number 1 team in the country. The Bulldogs would stay the number 1 team in the country for the next five weeks.
Last night, Mississippi State pounded the LSU Tigers over and over again in a manner that was very reminiscent of the 2014 game without the late game fireworks. So the question is now if this will start a similar three game stretch like the one we saw in 2014?
The Bulldogs will travel to a ranked Georgia Bulldogs team and follow it up with a trip to a ranked Auburn Tigers team. Neither team will be in the top 5 when Mississippi State plays them, so a climb to number 1 during this stretch is out of the question.
But if the Bulldogs could find a way to win their next two games on the road, the team will once again have the attention of the nation. After the dominant performance over LSU, the talk of the Bulldogs being the second best team in the SEC has already begun.
Getting wins in the next two games won’t be easy. Both games will be on the road, and while Mississippi State has played at a remarkably high level thus far, going on the road can make good teams look less than what they are.
But a year after the Bulldogs went 6-7, Mississippi State and its fans looked at the team coming back and thought there was a lot to be happy about, even if no one outside the state of Mississippi was paying attention.
Nick Fitzgerald was starting to blossom into another Dan Mullen quarterback who will star on a big stage at the end of 2016. The defense was gashed repeatedly, but a proven defensive coordinator in Todd Grantham was brought in and has turned a unit which was a doormat a year ago into an aggressive monster through the first three games of the season.
But the game people marked as the most important on the calendar has already been won. If Mississippi State should not get a win in either of the next two games, an 8 or 9 win season is still in reach. And if they can win one or two, then the Bulldogs will have things line up to be very special in 2017, a full year before most people thought it would be possible.
So buckle in Bulldog fans. The next two weeks could be one of the watermark moments in the program where Mississippi State began to change the national perception of its program. And we’ll all get to watch it if they do.