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STM Bulldogs Gameday: Mississippi State Unable To Break Through Against Alabama in 24-0 Defeat

It went pretty much the way we all expected it to in Tuscaloosa on Saturday, as Mississippi State’s offense was completely ineffective, the defense played at a high level, and some questionable calls hit at inopportune times in the Bulldogs’ 24-0 loss to top ranked Alabama. MSU held the Crimson Tide 27 points and 260 yards below their season averages on offense, but the maroon and white couldn’t find any offense of their own, racking up only 169 yards and 6 first downs. Nick Fitzgerald was completely enveloped in the running game, and was sacked five times, keeping the Bulldogs’ top rusher completely in check.


I really try not to be one who gripes and complains about officiating, but this is just inexcusable and ridiculous. This play should have set the Bulldogs up with first and goal at the Alabama 1 yard line, instead its wiped off by a phantom block in the back. A week ago, political pundit James Carville called the SEC out for poor officiating, calling it a conspiracy to benefit Alabama. I won’t go that far, but this is certainly one of the worst calls I have ever personally seen. I don’t think it made a huge difference in the game, MSU wasn’t likely scoring again, but this certainly will lend credence to the masses who cry out that Alabama is protected by the conference office.


Willie Gay got the start over Leo Lewis on Saturday, and boy did he make the most of it. 9 tackles, 2 sacks, and this pick of Tua Tagovailoa, only the second one thrown all season by the Alabama quarterback. Gay and his defensive mates showed the nation why they are one of the best units in the game this season, harrassing Tua for four sacks and holding the Crimson Tide to 3.2 yard per carry. Gay got the nod with Lewis out due to illness and the Bulldogs certainly did not miss him with Gay performing at this level.


Obviously, I didn’t expect much from Mississippi State’s offense in this game, and now through six SEC games, Joe Moorhead’s unit has scored a mere 67 points. For comparison’s sake, Sylvester Croom’s 2004 team managed 101, and that’s with both teams getting shut out (ironically by Nick Saban coached teams). Now two games remain against the worst defenses in the conference, so hopefully a late season turnaround is on the way. Regardless, there is going to be a lot of question marks surrounding this group and coaching staff when the offseason arrives. Can Keytaon Thompson, or anybody, bring consistency to the quarterback position? Why aren’t the running backs are bigger piece of the puzzle? Who will replace Elgton Jenkins, who has played so well at center? Moorhead will be under a lot of scrutiny in year two to improve what has been a huge problem.


As I write, Arkansas is about to kick off against LSU in the Battle of the Boot. The Razorbacks have not been impressive in year one under Chad Morris, and injuries have riddled them on offense all season long. Mississippi State should be a big favorite in this game, which kicks off Saturday at 11 AM from Davis Wade Stadium.

We will recap this and begin the look ahead to the final two games of the season on SportsTalk Mississippi and the Thunder & Lightning Podcast. I’m looking forward to talking with you all this week.

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