Week 7 is in the books, and I hope that book is lost and forgotten for at least the next 12 months. However, there is a positive sign ahead, a glimmer of hope that a bowl game is still possible as Mississippi State gets ready to play Vanderbilt on Saturday in Nashville, Tennessee.
The Commodores are currently 2-5 on the season and 0-3 in Southeastern Conference play. To put it nicely, the Commodores’ season has a lot of similarities to the second half of last week’s game against Alabama, a total train wreck.
So, what do the Commodores bring to the table this week against the Bulldogs? In the passing game, quarterback Ken Seals has passed for 1,086 yards on the season with five passing touchdowns and seven interceptions. On the ground, the Commodores’ running back Rocko Griffin has rushed for 284 yards on 82 attempts, while averaging just 3.5 yards per carry. Basically, the Vanderbilt offense just hasn’t found much success this season so far.
How about the defense? To put it as simple as possible, the “D” in Vanderbilt’s defense stands for DOESN’T stop much in 2021, In its first seven games, the Vanderbilt defense has allowed 1,828 yards through the air and 17 passing touchdowns, while also allowing 1,321 yards on the ground and another 12 rushing touchdowns. But to be fair, the majority of those points and yards came against Georgia and Florida.
Mississippi State should win. The Bulldogs should have a very good day in Nashville, Tennessee, and this game should and could be a good bounce-back game after last week’s complete meltdown in Starkville. So, let’s talk Hail State football with, “The Good, the bad and the Ugly!”
The Bulldogs can kick field goals again with the return of Brandon Ruiz, who was a major plus after several missed field goals earlier this season. This was a major plus and something very good to say the least. I just wish he could kick it like Nolan McCord on kickoffs.
Kicking the ball to Alabama’s 5-yard line with a dangerous kick returner like Jameson Williams was nerve racking to watch. Yet, I must admit that for the better part of the first half, I truly believed that the Bulldogs still had a chance until Rogers got injured.
Will Rogers’ night against ‘Bama was bad from the start, and it was clear that something wasn’t working in the passing game. I mean, it was easy to see that Rogers was caught up in the moment and was too focused on not making a mistake, which seems to always lead to many mistakes as we all saw.
I mean, at one time during the first quarter I thought I was watching K.J. “Mr. Pick City” Costello himself running around throwing the ball with his eyes closed and his teeth showing. But nope, it was Willy R and things just got worse after the injury. I mean, in the second half he was throwing the ball up in the air like he was wearing shades in the dark. I mean, I don’t know how many souvenirs he gave away, but Hail State we aim to please.
All joking aside, I hope Rogers can recover from his injury, and fast if possible because he will be essential if the Bulldogs have any hopes of going bowling this season, but it might be good for him to have a light load this week and let Chance Lovertich or Daniel Greek get some time under center because you don’t want to wait until the Bulldogs are in a must win situation to throw him into the wolves.
I have two items for this week’s ugly section. The first being how predictable the Bulldogs’ defense has become under Zach Arnett. Hey, I like aggressive defenses, they have been the cornerstone for many years here in Starkville, but it has become very noticeable that offenses are taking advantage of that over aggressive mentality. Again, I believe that the Bulldogs were outcoached on Saturday just like against LSU, which involves MSU’s defensive scheme.
However, I did love the three down linemen on the second-and-3 in the fourth quarter. You almost fooled them on that defensive call. I never thought they would run the ball in that situation,
The second ugly part of the game was the mentality of the Alabama coaches trying to rub dirt in the Bulldogs’ face by keeping the Crimson Tide starters in the game in the fourth quarter while the Bulldogs were already down 40 points to pad their stats. Classic Alabama, have to look good for the College Football Playoff committee, right? There will be a day in the not-so-distant future when I will be cheering for those Georgia Bulldogs to whip that @$$.
This week’s game against Vanderbilt should be an opportunity for Bulldogs to work on the Air Raid offense and possibly get some reps for Lovertich or Greek, as mentioned above. Either way, this should, and will be, a solid victory.
Prediction Week 8:
Mississippi State: 49
GOD BLESS, HAIL STATE and GO DAWGS!!!