Mississippi State vs. NC State: Preview, Takes, and Predictions

What should we be watching for in tonight's Mississippi State vs. NC State game?
Publish date:

Last week, Mississippi State debuted their 2021 college football season with a 35-34 win over LA Tech. The Bulldogs got the job done, but it sure wasn’t pretty, nor was it what we or the team were expecting heading into a matchup in which they were the heavy favorites.

MSU head coach Mike Leach knows that his team is capable of a higher caliber of play – but more importantly; a more consistent game from start to finish.

The Bulldogs will look to start the season 2-0 when they face the NC State Wolfpack tonight at 6p.m. CT, in Davis Wade Stadium.

NC State Key Notes:

The Wolfpack began their season last week with a 45-0 win over USF. A dominant win by the Wolfpack in a game that saw their offensive rush for almost 300 yards. Their offensive line looked impressive throughout the game which played a big role in the ground game success.

If Mississippi State wins this game – it will start with their defensive front holding down NC State’s offensive line, while committing to stopping the run.

A Few Predictions:

Will Rogers throws for 300+ yards and 3 touchdowns, again

If the Bulldogs hadn’t had to come back by 21 points in the fourth quarter to closely beat a team they were heavily favorites over, I think more people would’ve praised Will Rogers game. He was certainly shaky at times, and his consistency has to improve if the Bulldogs are going to play the type of football Leach wants.

Yet, when I went back and re-watched the tape, there were several reads and throws that Rogers made that opened my eyes a little.

I believe Rogers will have a few more big moments tonight, and it’ll lead to a second consecutive 300/3 night for MSU quarterback.

Jo'quavious Marks has a two-touchdown night

Bulldogs running back Jo'quavious Marks displayed his do-it-all ability last week against LA Tech. Marks had 71 rushing yards on 12 carries with two rushing touchdowns while also catching 9 passes for 27 yards and a touchdown.

I expect this trend to continue, and for good reason. Marks is an excellent player for Rogers as he consistently looked Marks’ way when under duress or checkdowns.

After tonight, Marks will look to continue his multiple-touchdown streak heading into week three.

Jaden Walley emerges as the No. 1 target for Rogers

In the season-opener vs. LA Tech, Walley battled through a few inconsistencies that were blatant to even the average viewer. Yet, he came up big when Rogers needed him most with the game winning touchdown catch.

Walley totaled four receptions for 64 yards and a touchdown last week. And while his play and Leach’s recent comments on Walley aren’t super encouraging – I still believe that the talent is unmatched once Walley fully arrives.

If Walley can become more consistent with his routes and reads; while also building a efficient chemistry with his quarterback, the ‘boom’ factor could arrive rather quick.

I’ll be watching Walley closely tonight. If his routes, quickness off the line, and targets trend upward then he’s a big play away from changing the game for this Bulldogs offense. 

Corey's Final Score Prediction:

It's extremely difficult to predict what Bulldogs team we're going to see tonight. Will we see a continued trend of inconsistencies and a lack of execution throughout long stretches? Or, will we see the group of players that fought back in the fourth quarter and overcame adversity, and pressure.

I'll roll with an improving Bulldogs performance in a high-scoring affair.

Mississippi State 37, NC State 27