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Barry Odom's Challenge: How to Stop Another Hot QB

Mississippi State has latest quarterback that's on a roll which is defense's challenge

Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers is hot right now.

That may be an understatement.

Against Kentucky on Saturday night, he set multiple school and SEC records as the Bulldogs came away with a 31-17 win over Kentucky that can only be described as surprising.

Arkansas defensive coordinator Barry Odom has come up with schemes before that shut down hot quarterbacks. They tricked Ole Miss' Matt Corral into throwing six interceptions last year.

Don't expect either that scheme or how the Hogs shut down Mike Leach's Air Raid offense last year to work Saturday afternoon in a game that all of a sudden has become a big game ... for both teams.

The bad news for the Hogs is they don't have Jalen Catalon and Myles Slusher is improving but he's not there.

State quarterback Will Rogers was a ridiculous 36-of-39 passing against Kentucky, the second-best team in the SEC East. Don't debate how good the East is. That's for a different day.

A passing percentage like that is good against air.

"I just felt like I was just out there playing," he said after the game. "Everybody else around me was doing their job pretty well."

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The Bulldogs also managed to run for 94 yards. That's probably not a huge number to most folks, but it's a big number in Leach's offense.

Add Rogers' maturing into a job he got by default last year and it all came together Saturday night.

"We’re two totally different teams from that point last year to now," Rogers said. "We did a great job tonight."

Now it's up to Arkansas to figure out how to stop it and managed to keep pace scoring against a defense that played it's best game this season, too, against Kentucky.

Rogers isn't expecting anything easy.

"I think I run this offense pretty well, but how many plays in a row can I do it?" Rogers said. "How many games in a row can I do it? Next week going to Arkansas presents a huge talent for myself as well as our team."

Kickoff for the game with the Hogs is set for 3 p.m. and will be televised on the SEC Network.


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