Skip to main content
Publish date:

Mississippi State vs Vanderbilt: A Look at Last Season's Matchup Against the Commodores

Mississippi State secured a 24-17 victory over Vanderbilt last season, and many of MSU's same playmakers from that game will be returning to action this weekend.

As Mississippi State prepares to face off against Vanderbilt on Saturday in Nashville, it's evident that the Bulldogs have improved tremendously since their close 24-17 victory over the Commodores last year.

Heading into last season's homecoming game in Starkville, the Bulldogs were looking for their second win more than a month after defeating LSU in the season opener. Their odds of winning were high against Vandy, a team that had been blown out in all five of the games they played. However, the victory did not come as easily as expected for MSU. The Commodores found momentum in the fourth quarter and nearly mounted a late comeback, until running back Jo'quavious Marks ran for a touchdown with less than three minutes remaining in the game to stretch MSU's lead to 10.

Looking at statistics, it's hard to see how Vanderbilt did not come into Starkville and get the upset. They had 478 total offensive yards-- more than doubling the 204 that State put up-- and 336 of those yards came through the air. For Mississippi State, true freshman Will Rogers threw for 226 yards and added one touchdown through the air, while Marks and Dillon Johnson each added a score on the ground. Why did the team only finish with 204 yards if Rogers threw for more than that? The Bulldogs rushed for -22 yards due to the number of tackles for losses and sacks that were allowed. That's not a good look, but luckily it did not matter when time ran out. The biggest difference in the game ended up being the number of turnovers each team had: MSU had none, while Vanderbilt had three interceptions and two fumbles. Although none of the turnovers were initially returned for big scores, constantly losing the football killed any momentum that the Commodores had. In the end, the defense won the game for the Bulldogs.

The game this weekend will be full of emotion: it is Vandy's homecoming, and the universities will be facing off in a major athletic event for the first time since Mississippi State's baseball team defeated Vanderbilt in the College World Series to claim the national championship. 

Read More

Both teams are playing at a higher level than they were last season, but it looks like Mississippi State still has the edge. The defense is still as talented as it has been, and many of the offense's biggest 2020 playmakers have returned to the field better than they were. The game this weekend will be tough, but the Bulldogs have proven that they are a much more efficient team than they were last year.