Coming into this game I believe everyone expected Mississippi State to handle Louisiana Lafayette with ease and come away with a blowout. That is exactly what happened as the Bulldogs roughed up the Ragin Cajun’s in a 56-10 Bulldog victory. This is no surprise, the game was over before the first half even came to an end, but there is still a lot of positives we can take from this game.
The defense started a little shaky but settled down quickly after giving up a FG to the Cajun’s on their first possession. The offense was in tune and provided a very balanced attack with 276 passing yards, 331 rushing yards and for those reaching for the calculators I’ll just let you know that came to a total of 607 yards total for our Bulldogs. The rushing game was great tonight and once again this was not a surprising stat. We knew we would run it down their throat with the trio of Nick Fitzgerald, Aeris Williams and Kylin Hill. As great as the running game was the main thing that has been a concern for the Bulldog faithful has been how well would our passing game develop in this new offensive system. I think it is safe to say we were all hoping for more improvement to carry over from last week to this week... Fitzgerald did not disappoint.
Nick Fitzgerald had a great night through the air. I don’t care who the opponent was. We all wanted to see Nick progress in that facet of the game. He struggled at the start of the game last week against Kansas State before settling down and making some very good throws and decisions. Tonight he had a couple of balls sail on him and didn’t give the intended receiver much of a chance to catch it, but this week he settled down much sooner. Fitzgerald finished with 14 completions on 21 attempts with 243 yards passing, a 66.3 completion percentage and 2 passing touchdowns. That completion percentage was definitely nice to see compared to last week. Fitzgerald laid a dime on his last pass of the first half to Stephen Guidry for a 39 yard TD pass to put the game out of reach and gave the Bulldogs a 35-3 advantage with just 18 seconds left before halftime. Later in the 3rd quarter he threw a dart right on the money to Keith Mixon for a 25 yard touchdown. There were several plays where he made good decisions and made great throws, including one perfect pass that came on a 3rd and 21 play that resulted in 22 yards and a 1st down. He made many great reads by running when he had to and passing down field to keep the Cajun defense on their heals. Fitzgerald has acclimated to this new offensive system very well and has shown some major improvements in his first two games of the season.
So while we all know Fitzgerald is extremely gifted on the ground with his legs and can win ball games with his running game alone, seeing his passing skills get sharper from game to game under a new head coach and a new offensive system is a very good sign for our Bulldogs. Oh, did I mention he had 107 yards rushing on 15 carries and 4 TD’s on the ground? So yeah, 350 total yards and 6 total TD’s. He had a pretty good night. Just happy and excited about the fact he had a big night on the ground and through the air. Now that the Bulldogs have started 3-0, we will get to see our biggest test yet next week against a much improved Kentucky team, also 3-0, that just came off of one of their biggest wins in school history. I think it is safe to say that I do not have to mention who that win came against and who was coaching their opponent that went into that game with a 31 game win streak against Kentucky. Yeah... I believe we are all on the same page there. Moving on! Bulldogs and Wildcats coming up!