Well State fans, the Bulldogs are quickly moving toward their second contest of the 2018 season after a very convincing victory in week one against Stephen F. Austin. This week the Bulldogs will travel to Manhattan, Kansas to take on the Wild Cats for their first road game of the season. This will be the first real test for Mississippi State this season, but before we get into this week’s game, LET’S TALK HAIL STATE with the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Let’s start with the GOOD!
There is no doubt Mississippi State Coach Joe Moorhead has changed a few things on the offensive side of the ball, most notably the passing game. Quarterback Keytaon Thompson had a monster game and accounted for seven touchdowns, five through the air and two on the ground. By the end of the game Thompson had thrown for 364 yards through the air and had rushed for 109 on the ground. If there was one thing that I knew for certain after this game is that I feel better knowing that Keytaon Thompson is our back-up Quarterback.
The receivers showed that they have great hands and that they can also get separation. Both of those were lacking last season and will make a huge impact this year on the offensive side of the ball. Unlike years past, the Bulldogs will have the ability to score fast if needed and will not only rely on the run to win ball games.
We have a healthy stable of running backs and a variety of options to pretty much suit any task. Kylin Hill showed just how fast he can change a game by scoring on the first offensive play of the year, taking a screen pass 34 yards to the house. Yet when we get deep into the SEC schedule we will also need the power and the like of Aeris Williams who showed last year that even the toughest defenses could not contain him for four quarters. The bulldogs will also be running Dontavian Lee another big powerful back and Nick Gibson out of the back field this season so things look good in this area.
Did I mention the defensive front seven? This unit is unreal and will be the most important weapon this team has this year. As we all know the SEC is a run first conference and that will be hard to do against this unit. Our front seven can, and will be able to stop any running attack it faces between the tackles and that’s saying something when you look at our schedule.
Moving on to the BAD!!
First of all, let me start by stating that this was the first game of the year and players are still getting the kinks out so some of the observation may just be the first game jitters.
Yet, I am sure that I was not the only one watching the game that noticed a bit worrisome effort from the defensive backfield Saturday. I will not point out anyone specific but it is definitely a concern. I also understand that the Bulldogs played mostly in zone coverage but there was just too many open receivers and many times without a defender even close. This is a major concern that must be fixed fast or this season will look a lot like last year with a couple if not more blowouts.
In addition to the defensive backs I also noticed that the offensive line had some protection issues when the first string started to rotate out. That won’t work with our schedule.
The ugly, watching Kansas State’s victory over South Dakota, (that was ugly). But rest assured Bill Snyder will have his team ready for Mississippi State come kick off time. It would not surprise me to find out K-State looked past South Dakota and has been preparing for the Bulldogs. Coach Snyder is a great football coach and a sneaky snake that will sneak up on you. I have stated all summer that this was a trap game, with Mississippi State traveling to Manhattan Kansas to play the Wildcats after playing a very weak first game opponent. Better get your head right because this team can beat the Bulldogs and will try to jump out fast. Believe me Bill Snyder has watched the game film and he also noticed the bad and will exploit it in front of 70 thousand Wildcat fans if we let him. Just Saying!