There was hope and faith that Saturday night's outcome would’ve been different. But in all reality, the superior team won tonight – and in dominant fashion. Mississippi State fell to Alabama 49-9 in a fairly one-sided affair at Davis Wade Stadium.
The Bulldogs did have a few bright moments in this one, but overall, tonight also showed a fair share of the same struggles offensively that we’ve become accustomed to seeing.
Here’s a look into three things we took away from Saturday's loss:
Will Rogers is playing adequately, but still isn't playing at a high enough level
Rogers seemed to turn the corner against Texas A&M, but took a step back on Saturday night with some questionable decision-making, still holding the ball too long at times and made some costly turnovers (three total interceptions on the night without a touchdown pass. The interceptions started early and allowed Alabama to take a large lead in the first half as the team capitalized on two interceptions that resulted in 14 points for the Crimson Tide.
Of course, there were other factors that played a role into MSU's misfortune -- head coach Mike Leach noted "bad communication" on both sides of the ball, players trying to force things and receivers "inventing" their own routes.
The defense showed promise early
Nick Saban hasn’t lost two games in a row since 2013 – and his Alabama squad lost a bad game to Texas A&M last weekend.
Yet, Bryce Young and Saban’s Alabama offense only put up 21 points in the first half. I know, to most teams 21 in the first half is a big number. Not for this team, however. Part of that had to do with the pressure the MSU defense brought, and it was noted before by MSU coaches like safeties coach Jason Washington that getting to Young and moving him off his spot would be a difference-maker.
14 of Alabama’s 21 first-half points came by the way of a Rogers pick-six and a second interception that gave the Crimson Tide offense great field position. In other words, that early lead didn't have everything to do with the defense. There were some explosive plays given up that have to be eliminated, though, as the 49-9 final score would suggest.
Bulldogs could still turn things around and make a bowl game
After the weekend's unpleasant loss, the Bulldogs are 3-3.
Through six games, MSU will now be fighting for bowl eligibility moving forward. Looking ahead the schedule, opponents like Tennessee State and Vanderbilt should be winnable for the Bulldogs. Aside from those, however, MSU will at the very least need one win from the matchups of Arkansas, Kentucky, Ole Miss, and Auburn to reach six wins on the year.
Tonight was not the night for Leach’s Bulldogs, but if they can continue improving and pull off a big win, or two – a bowl game appearance is still feasible.