Well State fans, just like that and we are off and running in the 2019 football season, which started on Saturday with a victory over those Ragin’ Cajuns in New Orleans. The game came with a few surprises, both good and bad. But in the end, a win is a win and I will take it. But before we get too deep in the weeds about this past Saturday, let’s talk a little bit about our upcoming matchup against Southern Mississippi, or as I like to refer to them, Hardy Street High School.
The Golden Eagles got off to a positive start this past Saturday with a 38-10 victory over Alcorn State. The majority of the Southern Miss’ offense came through the air. Junior quarterback Jack Abraham threw for 293 yards and one touchdown on 18-of-28 passing. He was also picked off once.
Special teams redshirt sophomore Jaylond Adams scored two touchdowns with a kickoff return and a punt return, showing just how dangerous he can be on special teams. As for the run game. well, the Golden Eagles had a hard time moving the ball on the ground. They gained just 96 yards on 31 carries.
On defense, the Golden Eagles did a pretty good job of holding Alcorn State quarterback Noah Johnson to just 143 yards with no touchdowns through the air on 31 attempts. They also forced one interception while also holding the Braves to only 75 yards on the ground. So just by looking at the stats, I would expect a heavy pass offense and a run-ready defense come Saturday in Stark Vegas.
Now that we have covered what happened down in Buzzard Roost University, it’s time to get into those weeds concerning the this past Saturday in Cajun Country, so Let’s Talk Hail State Football “The Good The bad and The Ugly.”
Give me THE GOOD!
First of all, we started the season with a win, as most know that is not the case for every team in the west division, but I won’t name any names. However, that said program lost to Memphis and its favorite song is baby shark. Winning is always good no matter how bad the win might have been.
I believe our first look of new quarterback Tommy Stevens brings hope to the offensive side of the ball. For a player making his first start in over four years he looked very comfortable and definitely showed good touch on his passes. Stevens completed 20 of his 30 attempts for 236 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. Not a bad day by any means. On more than one occasion, he went through his progressions and found open receivers to throw to and didn’t try to force the ball. This is something I have not seen too often in the past few years. Oh, by the way, he is also a good runner. “Say It Ain’t So” Stevens brings a down field threat that we need to compliment the run game, which is our next GOOD, the run game!!!!
Kylin Hill had a solid day rushing for 197 yards and a touchdown on 27 carriers while averaging over seven yards per carry. That’s a good day against any football team. What about our backup running back Nick Gibson? He needs more carries for sure. He ran just two times for 27 yards and a touchdown. That’s an average of over 13 yards per carry. We definitely need a better timeshare between these two back to keep them both healthy.
And last, how about nine, that’s right, nine different receivers had catches in this contest. Osirus Mitchell led the team with six catches and one touchdown, while Stephen Guidry had four catches and Austin Williams had three catches with one touchdown on the day. That’s what I call spreading the ball around to open receivers. I am very excited about this year’s offensive capabilities moving forward, and then there is the defense I saw on the field Saturday, which brings us to----DA BAD!!!
I know we lost three first round draft picks and graduated a few seniors on the defensive side of the ball, but we lose good players every year and always seem to field a solid defense. The play I saw this past Saturday was pitiful to see from a Mississippi State football team. If there is one thing all State fans expect, it’s a solid defense. We have lived through hard offensive times with no passing attack and a less that optimal run game, but we always had grit and teeth from the defense that every team dreaded having to face. I am worried that this year may be different.
Saturday showed a lack of assignment discipline and extremely poor tackling techniques. On several plays, the Cajun running backs would leave the backfield unnoticed and uncovered, which lead to two—that’s right—two touchdowns. To describe our linebackers, they had a tendency to over over pursuit by running past ball carriers. I remember the old saying “keep your eyes on their waist and breakdown before tackling.” I guess those days are gone.
This defense has too much size, speed and talent to play like they did on Saturday, and I’m sure things will be much better against Southern Miss. If not, this is going to be a long and painful season for Bulldog fans.
Well, this was easy. How about three teams from the SEC east losing in the first week to non-conference opponents? Ole Miss, of course, being one of them. This is the first time that I understand why the Rebels call themselves the land sharks. Because they looked like a fish out of water during their loss to Memphis this past weekend. Get The Hook Out!!!!! I also believe this was the second straight trip to Memphis that resulted in a loss for the baby sharks. LOOKS LIKE A TREND.
So, there’s you’re Ugly for week one and more to follow in the coming weeks.
HAIL STATE AND GO DAWGS.