What a game, what a heartbreaking loss for the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
Mississippi State started off slow today as the offense failed to score any points in the first quarter. Yet in a thrilling back-and-forth game, the Bulldogs showed their heart and determination while ultimately losing the game due to a last-second missed field goal.
Outside of the first quarter, you couldn’t ask for much more from Will Rogers and the Bulldogs offense. The fourth-quarter effort alone from Rogers and the offense certainly warranted a better outcome this afternoon.
Here are three immediate takeaways from Mississippi State’s 31-28 loss to Arkansas.
Nolan McCord missing a crucial ‘must-have’ field goal is proof of why you cannot rely on special teams in college football
When Arkansas scored a go-ahead touchdown with less than a minute remaining in the fourth quarter, I wasn’t very optimistic that MSU would have a shot at coming back to tie the game and force an overtime.
But all that changed when Bulldogs quarterback Will Rogers ran onto the field. The poise and calmness of Rogers was on full display when he drove his team down the field rapidly to put MSU in position to tie the game. And when MSU kicker Nolan McCord missed a 40-yard field goal, my takeaway began to write itself. A 40-yard field goal, one that would force an overtime, should be a ‘must’ in this sport.
The Bulldogs could certainly point at several areas to improve on, but the main focus needs to be not relying on special teams to win you football games.
Will Rogers continues to improve and uplift his team
Heading into the 2021 college football season, one of the biggest question marks surrounding this Bulldogs team was at the quarterback position. But behind Mike Leach and his brilliant Air Raid scheme, Rogers has shown us what he is capable of.
But even more importantly, Rogers had displayed the ability to uplift his team when needed.
With only 23 seconds left in the game, Rogers put his team in field goal position and in prolific fashion, if I may add.
The poise and confidence that Rogers possesses has continued to increase as the season as worn on, and even in today’s defeat; we’re left believing that Rogers is the guy Leach needs to continue this program’s upward trend.
Bulldogs defense didn’t have a great day
To no one’s surprise, the defensive performance by the Bulldogs would surely make this list. While players like Martin Emerson made several competitive hard-fought plays today, the unit as a whole didn’t play to the level they know they’re capable of.
If we’re being real, this Arkansas offense is no powerhouse. They’re a bullying offense that likes to beat you up and tire you out, and unfortunately that’s precisely what they did to this MSU defense come the second half.
There’s still a lot of promise for the defense as a whole, of course. But in a game that many felt the Bulldogs should’ve won, it’s defense didn’t do them any favors.