In just two days Mississippi State will welcome Stephen F. Austin to Starkville, as Davis Wade is sure to be rocking with cowbells. But the return of superstar signal caller Nick Fitzgerald will have to wait a week due to a suspension for violating team rules. Starting in his place is Keytaon Thompson, a promising talent who showed out in last year’s TaxSlayer bowl.
Thompson, also a dual threat and capable starter, rushed for 147 yards and found the end zone three times in Mississippi State’s victory over Louisville. He will have his chance with a revamped offense under one of the game’s great minds in coach Joe Moorhead. Given that Fitzgerald’s suspension is just one game, Bulldog fans have no reason to worry and should be excited to get another look at Thompson.
The suspension also shows Moorhead’s no nonsense mindset. He has been surrounded by buzz and expectations throughout the offseason. Mississippi State will be an offensive powerhouse, as Thompson will have plenty to work with, especially in the running game. Look for a show on Saturday, with stat filling performances on the ground.
Having said that, Fitzgerald could not return at a better time than week two. The Bulldogs will be heading to Manhattan to face Kansas State, a feared team known to play spoiler. The Wildcats are lethal at home with a crowd up there with the best of them and Fitzgerald must be at the top of his game.
Mississippi State has an opportunity to jump out of the gate with a bang at home against the Lumberjacks, as Thompson is calm, cool, and ready to take the field. Perhaps one of the most anticipated since those in the Dak era, this season has been one of the most anticipated. The Moorhead era begins, not with controversy, but with a chance to show depth at the game’s most important position.
However, the Bulldogs will also be without Cory Thomas, a defensive tackle with a high ceiling. But there is plenty of depth there as well. Mississippi State boasts one of the best defensive lines in college football, as fans have no reason to worry. Thomas’ suspension also lasts just one game and like Fitzgerald, his return comes at the perfect time.
Thankfully these suspensions will not last long and coach Moorhead will have a chance to give the backups their moment. Bring out the cowbells and expect one heck of a season starting Saturday. Hail State!