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Quick Hits: Oklahoma State Cowboys handle Mississippi State Bulldogs easily in 21-3 win

Mississippi State started strong, but poor play calling, penalties, failure to convert critical downs, injuries, and strong Cowboys offensive play saw the Cowboys pull away for a 21-3 win.

Bob Levey

There are about 1,000 words I could leave here for you on this game, but most of them are just the same three words in succession that I wouldn't want my mother to read.

  • After starting strong, Mississippi State lapsed into the same mistake ridden, failure to convert offense that we've seen featured in big games in the past.  The Bulldogs came out strong on the opening drive (see: Alabama game last year), but were unable to convert that momentum into a touchdown (see: Alabama game last year), and only came away with three points.  That would be good enough for awhile, but Oklahoma State's talented, fast paced offense eventually wore down an improved MSU defense, and it showed as the Cowboys went into halftime leading 7-3.
  • Make no mistake, there were positives to take away from the defense's efforts today.  But no matter how good your defense is, if they remain on the field for the majority of a stretch of the game, then they are going to struggle against an up-tempo offense.  That is what happened for the majority of today's game.
  • One of MSU's struggles seems to be that we cannot find a way to make adjustments during games.  When Oklahoma State figured out the run game, we continued to go to that well.  We continued to bring in Dak Prescott on short, critical downs, to run the ball up the middle, which is exactly what Oklahoma State and anybody who has watched five minutes of MSU football in the past five seasons knew was coming.  That sort of failure to adjust brought back horrid memories of the Croom era for many; memories that most of us would rather soon forget forever.
  • To add injury to insult, a host of Bulldogs went down in this game.  Jay Hughes suffered a leg injury in the first half, and his status, at least for upcoming weeks, seems doubtful.  Jamerson Love sustained an injury, as did Justin Malone.  And to pile onto all of that, senior QB Tyler Russell took a knee to the head that knocked him out of the game.  Truly today could not have gone any worse for MSU.
  • The reason this game was so frustrating, at least to me personally, is because we've seen this all before.  Even with a senior QB, a veteran offensive line, and a stable of talented running backs, the results remain the same.  State cannot convert on critical downs, they make mental mistakes by drawing penalties even when they are able to convert, and none of this even mentions the fact that the playcalling today was as unimaginative as I've seen since the Croom era.  Seriously, on 3rd and 15, we run a counter play that we ran the play before?  We run a sweep to the short side of the field?  Can someone assure me that we haven't rehired Sparky Woods or Woody McCorvey?
  • Some of you may take this as overreacting.  After all, it is just one game.  But what I saw today was an just the continuance of an emerging pattern of disturbing play and play calling that has shown itself lately, starting with the back half of last season.  When you continue to make these mistakes with guys who have been in a system for three seasons, it's a problem.  When your coach thinks it's okay to runt the plays we ran at times today, that's a problem.  There is so much to correct, and so little time.  Let's not even ponder the fact that we had months to prepare for this game, yet we looked like we had days.
  • I erroneously rushed this to post, and forgot to mention that the Cowboy offense was impressive.  Obviously my focus was on the large issues that MSU seems to have at hand, but hats off to Oklahoma State for their performance today.  They made the adjustments, and they ultimately were the better team on the field.  If I never see the diamond formation again, it will be too soon.
  • The good news is that this is one game.  State will get a chance to come home next week and lick its wounds against FCS opponent Alcorn State.  Still, there is so much that needs to be corrected before we travel to Auburn in two weeks.  So much.  I hope that adjustments will be made, but after yet another disappointing effort and result in another big game, I remain convinced until proven otherwise that this will be our fate for the foreseeable future.