The Bulldogs are headed into Week 3 with a solid 2-0 start to the season and looking to make it three straight victors on the road in Memphis.
Over the past two weeks, the Memphis Tigers have been riding on a high note with wins over Nicholls State in Week 1 and a hard-fought victory against Arkansas State this past Saturday on the road. Yet, Saturday’s victory was overshadowed with the news that the Big 12 had decided not to include Memphis in its conference expansion but rather included three other teams from the ACC instead.
It would be safe to say that the Tigers would like to make a statement this weekend against a Southeastern Conference opponent to show the Big 12 committee that it made a mistake in its selection.
So, what does Memphis bring to the table this weekend? The offense is led by quarterback Seth Henigan, who has accumulated 682 yards passing in his first two games. The receiving corps is led by Calvin Austin III, who has accumulated 286 yards with 12 receptions on the season. The lead running back is Brandon Thomas has rushed for 338 yards on 34 attempts.
Both Austin and Thomas are gaining over 10 yards per touch so far this year. All in all, the offense can move the ball and score through the air and on the ground.
As for the Memphis Defense, well, if it was a bowl, it would not hold water. In the Tigers’ first two games, they have already given up 67 points to their opponents. So, it is easy to say that the Memphis defense has not performed as well as they would have like, yet this does not change the fact that this game is a trap game for Mississippi State.
The Bulldogs just came of a good win over North Carolina State and know that next week’s SEC opener against LSU could be the most important SEC game of the season if the Bulldogs want to go bowling this year, so the Bulldogs can’t look past Memphis this week or things might get ugly.
So, let’s talk Hail State football with, “The Good, the bad and the Ugly!”
How about the DEFENSE? The Bulldog Defense controlled the game from start to finish. The Bulldogs held the Wolfpack to just 318 yards of total offense.
For a team to rely on the run game as much as the Wolfpack does, the Bulldogs held them to just 34 yards rushing. In addition to lack of a run game, N.C. State was only 3 for 10 on third down through three quarters and ended the game 4 for 12 on the night.
The biggest factor in the low conversion rate on third down was the forced turnovers, resulting in one interception and two fumbles. In addition, Mississippi State kept its offense on the field, which wore down N.C. State’s defense, something I said last week never happens in a Mike Leach offense. I STAND CORRECTED! Next, Leach is going to get to believe in Bigfoot, who is probably an alien. Moving On,
Let us not forget about the effort of Lideatrick Griffin on special teams. Griffin set the stage early with a 100-yard opening kickoff return, which for the most part, put the game away. This young man is dangerous, and I expect most teams will avoid kicking to him as much as possible moving forward this season. As for the rest of the special-team efforts, well, they were not!
The offense had a decent night through the air, putting up 294 yards passing and two touchdowns, yet the Air Raid offense is still sluggish at best and has to improve this week against Memphis. I mean, there are many Division I teams out there throwing the ball for 300-plus yards per game and they don’t call their offense an Air Raid offense.
The real issue is the run game, which will not get any better until the offensive line gets their act together. It just seems to me that the running backs get the ball and are immediately draped with defenders.
I give the running backs major credit for gaining anything most of the time with as little space they have. One last thing about the offensive line, I want all Bulldog fans to drink every time they hear No. 69 by the refs or commentators, it will be like New Year’s Day for four quarters!
The only ugly thing I have this week is Texas being humiliatingly defeat by Arkansas this past Saturday. I’m pretty sure the University of Texas is having second thoughts about joining the SEC and probably some night sweats.
But for those Texas fans out there, don’t worry, you only have to play eight conference games a year, surely you can win some of those, right? Also, the first time Texas plays at Mississippi State in Starkville, I would leave your bull at home. The last time a bull walked on that field, it walked out a Cow! “BALLS IN A SACK.” Shoutout to Coach Jackie Sherrill, you the man!
I still think this is a trap game for State, so even though it should be a solid victory, I see the game closer than it should be on the scoreboard.
Prediction Week 3:
Mississippi State: 41
GOD BLESS, HAIL STATE and GO DAWGS!!!