It wasn’t supposed to be this way for Mississippi State. This was finally supposed to be the year that the Bulldogs lived up to preseason expectations, that they went into their game against Auburn undefeated and rolling after getting revenge on their former head coach Dan Mullen. Instead, the Bulldogs will limp into next weekend’s matchup with the Tigers after sputtering on offense again and letting Mullen’s Florida squad escape Davis Wade Stadium with a 13-6 victory. For the second week in a row, State can’t score in double digits and rolled up just over 200 yards of total offense. Simply put, a season that was filled with the promise of big wins and offensive innovation looks a lot like what Mississippi State football was before the arrival of Mullen in 2009.
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) September 30, 2018
The only reason I went with this play is because I couldn’t find one of the Osirus Mitchell drop, which absolutely deflated Mississippi State. Instead, I’ll go with Florida’s lone touchdown, which came on a gadget play. Even with this, the Bulldog defense kept the team in the game, but the offense simply could do nothing. Look at this second half performance.
Mississippi State’s drives in the second half
Turnover on downs
— Tyler Horka (@tbhorka) September 30, 2018
That is a coaching problem. There’s no way you can convince me MSU can’t move the ball with the players it currently has. The scheme and the playcalling are killing MSU right now.
Guys, this MSU offense is just bad. There's no other word for it right now. And its compounded by the lack of carries for the best playmaker on that side of the ball. Kylin Hill should be sitting around 16-18 carries at this point in the game. He has 8.
— Brian Hadad (@brianhadad) September 30, 2018
There is no excuse for the lack of involvement Kylin Hill has in MSU’s offense. He is clearly the best player on that side of the ball, he was running the ball effectively in the first half, and Joe Moorhead simply went away from him. Hill carried the ball twice in the second half. Can you imagine in a close game simply refusing to hand the ball off to your most likely player to make a big play? It’s really hard to fathom the reasoning behind what is happening with this offense in terms of the rushing game. If Moorhead wants to say its an RPO offense and that’s just the read Fitzgerald is making, you have to start calling some straight handoffs and get away from that. MSU cannot continue to neglect Hill if the Bulldogs want any shot of winning any games the rest of the way through.
— Auburn Football (@AuburnFootball) September 30, 2018
Auburn gets a rain delayed win over USM to come into next weekend’s game with a little momentum. Auburn’s offense has struggled this season as well, but it has looked like the 2001 Miami Hurricanes next to MSU these last two games. Auburn’s defense is tough, and will likely provide the Bulldogs with the exact same problems Kentucky and Florida did. I expect another low scoring game, and I doubt the Bulldogs will do enough to get a win.
BUT WHAT’S REALLY NEXT?
First off, there is nothing I love more than a bad MS Paint graphic. But seriously, find me wins on that schedule? Auburn and LSU are better than Florida defensively, you can’t expect to score much in those games? Texas A&M is a better team right now, Louisiana Tech is always prolific on offense. I won’t even mention the game between that and Arkansas, who aren’t good but they could improve by seasons end. Then there’s Ole Miss, who we know can score. Is State about to miss a bowl game? How on earth are you going to convince Bulldog fans to give Joe Moorhead a second chance if he misses postseason play with what is the most talented team we’ve seen on this campus in some time. And don’t doubt for one second there is talent on this team, there are a lot of future pros in maroon and white right now, but they are being done in by poor coaching. I must have said this 100 times, too many coaches are willing to lose their way rather than win somebody else’s way. That’s is what is happening right now in Starkville.
Obviously plenty to talk about this week on SportsTalk Mississippi and the Thunder & Lightning Podcast. I’ll look forward to commiserating with you in the weeks to come, as the Bulldogs are now in desperation mode to turn around a season that was supposed to be the breakthrough.