Well State fans, Week 3 is quickly approaching and I must say that I’m a little bit confused about the performance of the Bulldogs in the first two weeks. I know one thing for sure, the wagon is a little lighter than it was last week, so if you need a ride, I’m pretty sure there will be some empty seats on our way to Lexington, Kentucky, as the Bulldogs travel to play the Wildcats.
The Wildcats are off to a rough start, dropping games against Auburn and Ole Miss. The Wildcats should have probably walked away with a win in both games, though, so they will be hungry to get their first win on Saturday.
This game is going to boil down to defense, in my opinion. I like our odds on the offensive side of the ball because Kentucky currently ranks last in pass defense. Let’s just hope it stays that way through Week 3.
With that being said, let’s talk Hail State football with the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Week 2 against Arkansas.
Finding something good in a game like this is hard to do. I mean, the Bulldogs came off one of the best victories in recent memory against the defending national champion LSU Tigers and then lost a game against an Arkansas team that hasn’t won a conference game since 2017. I guess it’s just going to be one of those seasons.
Never the less, the Bulldog defense deserves some credit in the ‘good’ category for its performance against the Razorbacks. The Arkansas offense was held to 275 yards of total offense with 212 coming through the air and just 63 on the ground. For the second week in a row, the Bulldog defense had a goal-line stand that started inside their own 2-yard line.
But it was the fourth quarter were the Bulldogs really stepped it up. Four straight Arkansas drives were stopped, giving the ball back to the Bulldog offense. Not one time in the fourth quarter did the Razorback offense break the 50-yard line. And in most cases, the Razorbacks ended up punting from inside their own 30-yard line. When a team only needs seven points to tie a game, you can not ask much more from the defense. The only thing they could have done better would have been to have some defensive scores.
The bulldogs never got into any type of groove in this game. It all started when the best running back in the Southeastern Conference, Kylin Hill, was knocked out of the game on the first possession. The passing game was nowhere near as dominant as it was in the opening contest of the season.
I am pretty sure that it takes more than zone coverage to stop an offense that carries an Air Raid nickname. After watching the game for a second time, I have come to the conclusion that there are three reasons for MSU’s offensive woes. Those three reasons are lack of patience, lack of vision and lack of accuracy. If the Air Raid offense would have had these three things under control, the Bulldogs would have walked away winning by two or three scores.
I know I spoke about the defense in the ‘good’ section, and the defense did play well, but I do have a concern moving forward. There were two instances where defensive backs lost their assignments that resulted in two touchdowns for Arkansas. That is really bad. The same broken coverage happened against LSU, yet we got away with it due to a poor throw that resulted in an interception. I know that was noticed and covered during the week, so how is it still happening?
I have never been one that put a lot emphasis on polls and rankings, but what the hell is going on this season? Let me explain. First, the Bulldogs beat the No. 6 LSU Tigers on their own field and MSU shot up to No. 16 in the rankings. LSU dropped from No. 6 to No. 20 in the same poll. Move ahead one week, the Bulldogs play an unranked Arkansas team and lose and they fall completely out of the rankings. That’s understood, but LSU played an unranked Vanderbilt team, won and shot up to No. 14 in the same poll. The Bulldogs and Tigers have the same record, but only one of them has beaten a top-10 team!
On a side note, Garrett Shrader earned respect last season for his effort against Kansas State where he sacrificed his body and was spun in the air from a hard hit. That moment of sacrifice earned him respect from his teammates, the Bulldog fanbase and even the national media. I just haven’t seen that kind of effort from every player this season. I hope that changes moving forward!
Hail State and Go Dawgs!!!