Believe it or not, this was one of the best offensive performances against a Southeastern Conference opponent in Mississippi State history. The Bulldogs finished with a total of 640 total yards, 460 of which came on the ground, a 54-24 victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks (2-7, 0-6 SEC). Let’s get right into the takeaways from Saturday’s game in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
The main struggles the Bulldogs saw were on special teams. On the kick returns, there wasn't an impact. A muffed punt near the end of the second quarter gave the Razorbacks great field position and easy points. This mistake didn't impact the final score, but there will be a game at one point in the season that can be a won or lost based off a special teams turnover. Arkansas’ running back, Rakeem Boyd, rushed for 114 yards and a touchdown, but most of those yards came from a 52-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. After that big run, Boyd couldn't get much going and was relatively shut down.
Wow, that was a fun gane to watch. Arkansas is easily one of the worst teams in the SEC and for Joe Moorhead’s sake, it was crucial that the Bulldogs dominated in every facet of the game. The Bulldogs did just that. Quarterback Tommy Stevens got the start and looked similar to how he did the first six quarters of the season. He threw for 172 yards and two touchdowns and added 74 yards on the ground. However, most of the fireworks came from running backs Kylin Hill and Nick Gibson. Both had a career-best games, combining for 363 yards and four touchdowns. They also combined for six runs of over 20 yards. Hill rushed for 198 of his 234 yards and all of his touchdowns in the first half. Gibson finished his day with an explosive 28-yard run and a career-long 47-yard touchdown on the same drive. The defense’s job was to keep the Arkansas running game in check. Other than one big run, they did their job. Razorback head coach, Chad Morris, used three different Quarterbacks over the course of the game, and none of them could do much to help their team. Redshirt freshmen Marcus Murphy made a great play in the second quarter that turned into a pick-six.
This was a game that this team needed and can build off of. The Bulldogs haven’t missed a bowl game since 2009, and if they don't win two of their next three games, they’ll be sitting at home this postseason. The good news is that there are two very winnable games, but it will likely all come down to the Egg Bowl against Ole Miss on Thanksgiving Night. A bye week and hosting Alabama is what’s next for MSU.