All posts by Matt Wyatt

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MATT’S STATS: Bulldogs, Rebels Belt Opposing Quarterbacks

We knew coming into the 2014 season that the SEC had “turned over” at the quarterback position. Gone were A.J., Johnny Football, Mettenberger, Murray, and Conner Shaw. Just like most predicted, Prescott, Wallace, and Marshall have moved to the front of the pack this season.

What has that meant to the undefeated Bulldogs and Rebels? It means neither team has faced very many elite QBs so far this season, and won’t until they face each other in the Egg Bowl. 

The one common opponent/QB for State and Ole Miss to date is Texas A&M redshirt freshman Kenny Hill:

Kenny Hill vs MState
37/62  (59%) – 365 yds  5.9avg  – 4td 3int  – 28.6 qbr
(12 carries, 35 yards, 0TD)

Kenny Hill vs Ole Miss
42/53   (79%)  – 401 yds  7.6avg  – 2td 2int  – 48.7qbr
(8 carries, -4 yards, 0TD)

The argument is not whether Kenny Hill is “elite” at this point. He’s just the only capable SEC QB that each team has faced.
Outside of Hill, Alabama’s Blake Sims and Auburn’s Nick Marshall are the best QBs the Rebs and Dogs have faced.

Blake Sims vs Ole Miss
19/31   61%   – 228 yards (7.4avg) – 0TD 1INT  – 60.4qbr
(7 carries, 8 yards, TD)

 

Nick Marshall vs MState
17/35   48%  – 209 yards (6.0avg)  – 2TD 2INT  – 35.7qbr
(17 carries, 100 yards 5.9avg, 0TD)

Marshall was able to hurt Mississippi State on the ground some, and had one long run of 27 yards.
Going into Saturday, Justin Worley had been pretty solid for Tennessee. He showed some toughness early against Ole Miss, but don’t let his 55% completions fool you. He finished the night with 3 INTs and -41 yards rushing after being sacked 7 times. Ole Miss made Worley’s night miserable.

The point is this: there aren’t very many established, “elite” quarterbacks on the schedule this season for State and Ole Miss. Dan Mullen’s Bulldogs will face Patrick Towles, Blake Sims, and Bo Wallace on the remaining schedule (not exactly a McCarron, Mettenberger, Manziel gauntlet), and Hugh Freeze and Co. still have to play Nick Marshall and Dak Prescott (both in Oxford).
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AUDIO: Mullen on Being No.1, Off Week, and “WeWantDan.com”

I was able to catch up with Dan Mullen on Wednesday in his office for a few minutes. I appreciated his time, even though it’s an off-week for the Bulldogs, because Dan is accommodating one media request after another on a daily basis.

Part-one: Covers his schedule during the open date, thoughts on his defense, and staying grounded.

 

Part-two: Mullen discusses his thoughts about the Florida fan base lobbying for him to become their next head coach by launching a website “WeWantDan.com”.

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My Thoughts on the “Mississippi Massacre”

Credit former Supertalk host Sid Salter. He coined the term on twitter last night after the magnolia state captivated the college football world:

 

Dan Mullen

I think Dan has been the the spark to where we are currently. When he was hired he immediately revived a Bulldog fanbase that was gasping for oxygen. When he said the words “division championship” in his opening press conference some thought he was crazy. When he called Ole Miss “the School Up North” it seemed he was picking a fight.

He followed that up by backing up his words and began a steady, methodical build of his program that is now of the top-10 variety.

His talk, but more importantly his walk, caused Ole Miss to get their act together, and boy did they ever.

They hired a winner in Hugh Freeze, and a go-getter in Ross Bjork, and now they too are a top-10 team.

Dak Prescott

Hard working, gutsy, underdog, blue-collar: Mississippi State has had many teams that could be described as such. Bulldog fans have come to love that identity over the years.

What they’ve never been able to cheer for was a nationally transcendent player who captures the attention of the big boys like Sports Illustrated, ESPN, and Heisman voters.

Prescott is that player. The highest compliment I can give Dak, is that he doesn’t care about the individual praise. He just simply has the perfect makeup to handle the spotlight. He wakes up every morning thinking about the weight room, not reading the headlines.

Bo Wallace

I’ve maintained on Head To Head that Wallace is, apparently, a winner. From setting records and winning a state title in high school, to setting records and winning a national championship in JUCO, all he’s ever done is lead winning teams.

On Saturday, he shut the detractors up. He made clutch plays, critical throws, when his team – and maybe more importantly, the Ole Miss program – needed it most.

Maybe now everyone can drop the “good Bo” and “bad Bo” monikers, and recognize him for what he is…

a winner.

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“Gameday” in Mississippi Back-to-Back Weeks a Possibility

ESPN “Gameday” will be in Oxford this week for the big, SEC West showdown between Alabama and Ole Miss. On the same morning, just a few miles down the road, the SEC Network game day show “SEC Nation” will be in Starkville for Texas A&M at Mississippi State.

On Saturday morning, SEC Director of Communications Chuck Dunlap tweeted to me (@maroonwyatt) and Pete Roussel (@coachingsearch) an indication that ESPN Gameday is eying the October 11th matchup between Auburn and Mississippi State in Starkville:

A win over Texas A&M would catapult the Bulldogs into a top-10 ranking as well as a step ahead in the hunt for a division title. Sounds like an added bonus would be a visit by Fowler, Herbstreit, Desmond, and Coach Corso.

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A Few Memories of Chucky

Four years ago while working for the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau, I wrote a blog post containing a few memories I’ve held since growing up in Russellville, AL, watching Chucky Mullins lead the Golden Tigers to the 5A state title game.

Watching the recently released “It’s Time” documentary about the Mullins and Brad Gaines story, I was urged to re-issue that post and the memories contained.

Here you go: LINK

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