Coming into this game there were many people in Bulldogs nation concerned about Nick Fitzgerald going against a Big 12 opponent without participating in the season opening tune up against SFA due to his suspension... rest easy fellow Bulldogs, Fitzgerald did not miss a beat in his first game since the gruesome ankle injury in the Egg Bowl last season.
Fitzgerald started off slow in the passing game which is excusable considering the situation he was in, but it didn’t take long for Nick to do what he does best. Fitzgerald led the Bulldogs to a 31-10 rout of Kansas State putting up 313 total yards and 2 TD’s. Nick impressed me the most on the last 2 plays of the 95 yard scoring drive in the 3rd quarter. On 1st down he scrambled, kept his eyes down field, saw nothing open and threw it away. You might be asking yourself how in the world is that impressive to me? Well it shows his maturity as a QB for one. Last year he’s probably taking off running up field and risking injury or throwing it into tight coverage when nothing is open. Certainly I do not have to remind any of you what happened when he tried to make something out of nothing in last year’s Egg Bowl. Today he did the smart thing and threw it away to live for another down, then threw the 13 yard TD pass to Austin Williams the very next play with two KSU defenders applying intense pressure on him and standing right in front of his face. I absolutely loved seeing those two plays end the way they did. That means Moorhead’s words and knowledge is paying off and Fitzgerald is adjusting to his new system just fine. He also had to start with bad field position at the beginning of the drive, backed up at his own 5, normally you’d expect a run play to give Nick more room especially when the Bulldogs were having so much success on the ground. Instead he dropped back to pass with his feet in his own end zone, the line blocked very well and Nick stood tall in the pocket with poise then delivered a well thrown ball downfield for a good gain. That shows that even after a rocky start in the passing game for Nick, he settled down and settled into Moorhead’s system very nicely.
In the end the passing stats don’t look like anything to get excited about, but when your rushing attack averages over 10 yards per carry and your RB out-gains your opponents total yardage by himself a passing game isn’t needed as much. Kylin Hill ran like a man possessed today with 211 yards rushing and 3 TD’s and certainly deserves player of the game. Watching Hill and Fitzgerald utilize the run pass option together was a thing of beauty and they made it look like they had been doing it for years together. We still have an entire SEC schedule to worry about of course, but right now there is no reason for the Bulldog faithful to not be very excited about this team and what they are capable of when they play Bulldog football.
I always try to limit my expectations and keep my emotions in check when it comes to Mississippi State football (trust me it’s easier that way) but I just can’t help myself thinking about how special this team could be. Yeah yeah I know, we have a tough SEC schedule ahead and have opponents much tougher than the teams we faced in the first two weeks but I don’t care. I mean what’s wrong with believing in your team? At least we don’t scream “this is our year” every single year like a certain Orange and White team does.(Sorry Tennessee, once again it’s not your year) Instead we are Maroon&White till we die and we believe in our Dawgs every week no matter what. Win or lose we show up and we support our Bulldogs regardless of their record so ring those Cowbells loud and proud Bulldog Nation! Mississippi State football is on the rise!