Let’s Talk Hail State
Once again the Bulldogs had a solid victory in week three, bringing first year head Coach Joe Moorhead’s record to 3 - 0. Last Saturday, the Bulldogs didn’t hesitate peppering the gumbo on those Ragin Cajuns, scoring 35 points in the first half alone, while adding an additional 21 in the second half. All in all the Bulldogs controlled all three phases of the game, as Nick Fitzgerald stated during his post-game interview. In my opinion, this was the most complete game State has played thus far, yet there is still plenty of room for improvement to go along with all of the good stuff we are about to discuss. So, LETS TALK HAIL STATE the GOOD the BAD and the Ugly.
As always we start with the GOOD!
Did anyone other than me notice that our quarterback seemed to be just a little bit more accurate this past weekend compared to previous games? SAY WHAT!!!!! Fitzgerald had the best passing game of his career in terms of accuracy. I am not just talking about completion percentages people; I am talking about the deep throws, crossing routes, into traffic throws. He was on target Saturday. I could tell he felt confident throwing the ball and he didn’t try to force anything. Hopefully that confidence and accuracy will carry over to this week’s match-up against Kentucky.
Nick finished the day with a 66.7 completion percentage going 14 for 21, while throwing for two touchdowns. I must say that for the first time in years I was impressed with the Bulldogs passing game, it looked clean and fluid, not rehearsed.
In addition to a great passing performance, Fitzgerald had a great day on the ground running for 107 yards on 15 carries and finding the end zone four more times, totaling six touchdowns on the night. So with all that being said Nick Fitzgerald gets the nod for MVP against the Cajuns.
It was also good to see Aeris Williams get some touches. A-Train was back dealing the pain and the Cajuns we on the receiving end of it. Williams had a stellar night rushing for 101 yards on 11 carries, averaging 9.2 yards per carry. Those are pretty impressive numbers for someone considered to be a back-up tailback. After Saturdays game I am pretty sure there is no true starter between the two, but rather a hot hand designation determined during the week. Both Williams and Hill are true beasts in the back field and both could reach a thousand yards this season if things fall into place.
Also; Fitzgerald has multiple receivers to throw to this season. The Bulldogs truly have some options and that is a major plus compared to previous seasons. If the Bulldogs can continue to develop the passing game, while continuing to spread the ball around as we have seen so far, we will be a tough match-up for any defense.
Lastly, I would like to express my thanks to the Mississippi State Athletic department and Softball coaching staff for the retiring of Alex Wilcox’s jersey. Alex was an inspiration to everyone that knew her story and watched how she approached her fight with ovarian cancer with strength and tenacity. Her story, and the way this great University approached her situation, shows that when any athlete or student joins the Hail State Community they are more than a student but rather member of the Hail State family. God Bless and Hail State to forever # 8
Moving to the BAD!
I will tell you what is bad; lower body injuries to both Jamal Peters and Kylin Hill.
From what I am hearing, Hill will be a full participant for this week’s contest with Kentucky. What actually happened to him other than landing on the yardage marker is still not clear; either way he is a go. Here is an important note; we have Williams at 100% and he is currently chewing on a Wildcat bone in the locker room right now.
The injury to Jamal Peters was really bad and looked even worse on replay. If you don’t know, Peters will miss this game against Kentucky. I hope that he is able to return soon if not it will be a major loss to this defensive back field that is currently a work in progress. This secondary has the skill set and ability of any group in the conference yet seems to break coverage and miss assignments pretty regularly. I will say that they have shown some improvement over the last two games, which gives me some hope moving forward but we have yet to compete against a true pass first offense to really test this unit.
Yes, there was some ugly this week. It started within the first five minutes of the game when the Bulldogs acted like they weren’t very motivated to be there. That short amount time when the players were still trying to decide if they wanted to play football or watch Chicken Little, resulted in a field goal for Louisiana-Lafayette. This was unacceptable. I clearly recall a couple of games that were over last year in the first five minutes, so being ready both physically and mentally is crucial in this league. I put the blame of this debacle on the coaches, it is their responsibility to get them prepared for the next game and that includes mentally prepared.
I would like to take this opportunity to briefly discuss the chatter currently going on between some unnamed running backs from both Mississippi State and Kentucky, There’s nothing like motivating the other team with reckless words and gestures, that’s like playing baseball without a cup. Not Smart!! Ask a baseball player
Also, I want to say this to all the Bulldogs fans. This Kentucky team reminds me of the 2014 Mississippi State team. I have heard and read in many articles how we have bigger, better, and more experienced fronts. Ironically so did LSU, Texas A&M, and Auburn back in 2014, and we beat them easily. Mississippi State did not have the most talented team in the SEC west back then either. What Mississippi State did have was confidence and the belief that they could beat anyone they played. Because of that, they started the season 8-0 and were the first team to ever be ranked number one by the new College Football Selection Committee. This weekend the Bulldogs need to take Kentucky very serious, because as of right now they believe they can win. Don’t sleep on this team or I promise, you will be asking the same questions on Sunday that LSU, Texas A&M, and Auburn were asking in 2014. Just Saying!!