With the Golden Egg back in Starkville after Mississippi State defeated Ole Miss 35-3 in the Egg Bowl, the Bulldogs’ defense set a standard throughout the entire season and put together a spectacular performance on Thanksgiving Day to culminate a record-setting defensive year.
Beyond holding one of the nation’s top offensive teams in Ole Miss to three points, several players played a huge impact in the Bulldogs success on defense.
It was a BIG TIME performance by All-America candidate Jeffery Simmons (@GrindSimmons94)‼️— MSU Football (@HailStateFB) November 25, 2018
☑️ 93.8 — overall grade
☑️ 94.2 — run defense grade
☑️ 82.9 — pass rush grade
via @PFF_College #HailState pic.twitter.com/RT5jRlpDoH
Jeffery Simmons finished the regular season with 54 tackles (34th in the SEC), one sack, three pass deflections and one forced fumble. In the Egg Bowl, the junior defensive tackle recorded four tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and a pass deflection.
Montez Sweat finished finished with eight sacks, ranking him fourth in the SEC and seventh in FCS.
Johnathan Abram recorded 84 tackles (ninth in the SEC), three sacks, two interceptions and one fumble in his senior season. Against Ole Miss, the Columbia, Mississippi native finished with four tackles, one interception and two pass deflections.
Erroll Thompson compiled 81 tackles (11th in the SEC), four sacks and two interceptions as a promising sophomore.
Mark McLaurin finished with 63 tackles (23rd in the SEC), four pass deflections and one forced fumble in his senior season.
The nation’s BEST defense. No. 1️⃣ in the FBS in:— MSU Football (@HailStateFB) November 25, 2018
▶️ Scoring Defense - 12.0 ppg
▶️ Fewest TDs Allowed - 12
▶️ Yards Per Play - 4.14
▶️ Pass Efficiency D - 97.3
▶️ Redzone TD% - 25.0
▶️ Fewest 50+ Yd Plays - 0 #HailState pic.twitter.com/W3hmacMXqk
Among other key players were Willie Gay Jr, who finished second on the Bulldogs defense in sacks with five, followed by Gerri Green with four and Jaquarius Landrews with three.
With less than a week to go before Mississippi State finds out which bowl game it will play in, the Bulldogs’ defense will look to flex its muscles one final time in a season where it dominated from start to finish.