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Mississippi State vs. Arkansas: Five Takeaways

Arkansas took Mississippi State down to the wire Saturday for the second straight year. Will Redmond sealed the win for the Bulldogs with an interception in the end zone late in the fourth quarter. Here are five things we took away from the win.

Butch Dill

Arkansas is not far off from being a contender

Man, you really have to feel for Arkansas. They play so well against all these highly ranked opponents but come up just short every time. They are a much better team than their record shows, and their schedule didn't do them any favors. The Mississippi State game Saturday marked their fifth straight top 10 conference opponent they had to face. With a one point loss to Alabama and now a one touchdown loss on the road at Mississippi State, it's pretty clear that they are improved. They can run the ball, play good defense, and are great at controlling time of possession. They have LSU and Ole Miss at home the next two weeks and then close out the season at Missouri. They could win one or two of those games, and it wouldn't be a stretch to say they could win all three.

Josh Robinson is the Mississippi State offense

Seriously, what can this guy not do? As if he didn't have enough highlight reel plays last week, he decided he would add a couple of more this week. The first came on a one handed catch over the middle of the field in the first quarter. The second came when Robinson jumped over an Arkansas defender along the sideline. He was quiet running the ball this week but did a lot of damage in the passing game. J-Rob caught six passes for 110 yards and was open on several more plays that Dak could have checked down on. From running in between the tackles to blocking to catching the ball, Robinson has improved every part of his game since last year. The offense will continue to go as he goes.

Will Redmond is a special player

I've said it for the past few weeks... Will Redmond is Mississippi State's best cornerback. He's the best tackler by far, and he's the best in coverage. He destroys every wide receiver screen pass that is thrown to his side of the field. He's also been tested time and time again vertically, and he comes through more times than not. His game sealing interception in the end zone against the Razorbacks was a thing of beauty. Redmond has the length and athleticism that could make him a solid player at the next level.

Red Zone defense is a big reason why MSU is undefeated

You can move the ball on Geoff Collins' defense all you want. He doesn't care how many yards you rack up as long as his guys tighten up inside the 20. Arkansas was 2-5 on red zone chances and even failed to score from inside the five yard line at one point. The only Arkansas touchdown of the night came after a muffed punt that set up the Hogs with good field position. Mississippi State's defense is starting to make the goal line stand look like clockwork. If it weren't for good red zone defense, the Auburn and Arkansas game could have both easily been losses. The Bulldogs currently owns the nation's best red zone defense according to percentage.

Dak didn't help his Heisman chances this week, but who cares?

It feels funny saying that after a night where he racked up 395 yards of total offense, but Dak may lose some votes this week. His passing numbers weren't good against Kentucky. He threw two more interceptions this week against Arkansas, and only scored one total touchdown. He has to take better care of the football if he wants to remain a Heisman favorite. It was obvious that he played hurt, and he hobbled around for much of he night. So you have to give credit where it's due for a gutsy performance and hope he will have time to heal. With UT Martin next week and Alabama to follow, you have to wonder how much he will play. I would expect no more than a half from him and it's possible he doesn't even play at all. Sitting out a full game would hurt his Heisman chances because he would rack up some major yards in that game. At the end of the day, the most important thing is him being healthy and the team winning games. Dak would much rather be holding a national championship trophy up at the end of the year than holding the Heisman.