Not much can be said about how bad of a game both of these teams played. From turnovers to dumb penalties, this game had a ton of it. Tommy Stevens stiffened up after halftime, according to head coach Joe Moorhead, so the Bulldogs turned to true freshman Garrett Shrader to ignite a comeback win. He would lead the Bulldogs down the field on his first drive for a touchdown, that put Mississippi State ahead of Kansas State 21-17. Jace Christmann would add a 47 yard field goal to expand the lead to 24-17. The touchdown lead wouldn’t last long because Kansas State took the following kick off back for a touchdown to tie the game, in what would be the final momentum changer in the game. The Wildcats would later take the lead on a touchdown pass from Skylar Thompson to Dalton Schoen, making it a 31-24 K-State advantage and the final nail in the coffin of Mississippi State.
What We Learned
- For Mississippi State to have a winning season, they need a completely healthy Tommy Stevens. The offense clicks when it’s run by a fully healthy Stevens, that can’t be argued.
- The Bulldog defense has to play how it did in the second half, for a full game, if this team is going to have any chance to get to where fans expect them to be.
- Tucker Day is a weapon this team didn’t have a year ago, he did his part in trying to flip field position when Mississippi State was backed up in their own territory.
Players of the Game
Usually, this would be the helmet stickers portion but you don’t get helmet stickers for losses.
Offense: Garrett Shrader, while the results aren’t there through the air he did enough on the ground to keep Mississippi State in the game. For the second week in a row he came in relief of Tommy Stevens and did a good job, at times, of leading the offense. 10 rushes for 82 yards and a touchdown.
Defense: Brian Cole had another good game on the defensive side of the ball, playing the role that made Johnathan Abram a first round pick a year ago. He had 6 total tackles, 4 solo, to go along with 2 tackles for loss and a sack. If he continues to have games like this, the Mississippi State defense will be good enough for State to win games this season.
Special Teams: For the third week in a row, this belongs to Tucker Day. He’s the most improved player on this Mississippi State team from a year ago. Light years ahead of where he was a season ago. His ability to flip field position and pin opponents deep will be key for a defense that has struggled 3 games into the season.
Mississippi State will host Kentucky to begin conference play next Saturday at 3pm. I’m not a believer in labeling games as must win, but for Mississippi State and Joe Moorhead this is a must win. The Kentucky game is going to be a tone setter for the rest of the season, just like it was a year ago when State lost in Lexington. I’ll have more on that game later in the week.
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