MSU takes care of Kentucky in Lexington for a 28-16 win and a 3rd straight victory over the wildcats under Coach Mullen. It felt like we had a chance to completely route Kentucky. But 3 turnovers in the first half and staying way to conservative on defense kept Kentucky in the game. We needed a win, regardless of how we got it. But with 5 games left this season, we still don’t have an identity on offense. I know our coaches want to be looked at as a running team and I do as well. But we can’t be a run first team with this beat up young offensive line. I still believe Tyler Russell gives us the best chance to win any game and I think this game strengthens my case for Tyler. I feel good about our chances to get to 6 wins now, but we’ve got to have a better idea of who we are on offense to challenge Bama and Arky in Little Rock.
Malcolm Johnson making a TD grab. Can you say future All SEC Tight End?
Key stat of the game: After entering the game 9-of-21 (.430) in red-zone touchdowns this season, Mississippi State scored touchdowns on four of five red-zone trips against Kentucky (80 percent). I’m still not crazy about alternating Tyler Russell and Chris Relf at QB. It worked well enough for us not to be too critical. But we did not possess the ball well. We only ran 53 plays for 23 minutes of possession time, while Kentucky ran 77 plays for 37 minutes of possession time. Plan w/ Relf seemed to be: dink and dunk passes, then bring him in for red zone situations to run it. I feel like Relf is getting a lot of credit for a lot of the work that Tyler did in the first half. Tyler was totally given control of the offense after Relf threw a pick and couldn’t get anything going to start the 2nd half aside of the one play he ran when we got in the Red Zone for no gain. Then Tyler came back in and hit Malcolm Johnson for a TD. We finally got the TEs going w/ Marcus Green and Malcolm Johnson making some great catches. We had three scoring drives of 80 yards, as well as a 65-yard scoring drive. And that’s the biggest problem w/ Tyler: we score too fast. Play calling was still questionable at times, especially to start the game and in the 2nd half. I’m really beginning to think we may need Mullen to call plays and hire a special teams coach. Koening is a great guy, but just doesn’t seem to have a feel for certain game situations.
The defense played really well in the first half IMO. After being put in really bad situations twice, they managed to hold Kentucky to just 6 points. In the 2nd half we got too relaxed and weren’t as aggressive as I’d like to see. The play calling was very prevent and looked like we were playing not to lose. Arky will kill us with this approach on D. I want to see us jamming WRs on the line of scrimmage and bringing the heat on the QB, especially with an inexperienced freshman back there. I do have to give some credit to the D though. The D line looked pretty good at times. We had 4 sacks and didn’t give up any big plays. We’ve only allowed Auburn to embarrass us on D. Our defense has given up 33 points the last three games, it’s lowest total three-game stretch since allowing 30 from Nov. 25, 1999-Sept. 2, 2000.
In his last 2 road games, Tyler Russell is 20-of-25 for 338 passing yards and four TDs, while owning a QB rating of 246.4.
Here’s a few quotes after the game:
Mullen On the switching at quarterback throughout the game… “I thought both of them played well. I know you guys like to ask and write all about it. They both had a great week of practice last week. I honestly looked at the grades, and on the plane yesterday I said, ‘Tyler (Russell), you’re going to go the first series, Chris (Relf), you’re going to go the second series. And we’ll keep going back and forth.’ I think both of them played pretty well tonight. We made some silly throws – Chris made that one poor throw down in the red zone right before halftime. I think he made the right decision I think he just made a poor throw and kind of floated the ball out there for that one interception. Overall, I thought they both played well.”
Tyler Russell on what he thinks of the two quarterback system… “I think it really opens it up. The defense doesn’t know what to do. There would be times the defense would think Chris would be in the game, which opened up the pass for me.”
Nebraska left for the Big 10 and dominoes have started to fall. Next Colorado and Utah go to the Pac 12. Texas A&M gets in the SEC. TCU gets in the Big East. It really looked like super conferences were being formed before our very eyes until the Pac 12 said NO to Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., and Texas Tech. Now things are really crazy. Syracuse and Pitt are headed to the ACC. Missouri may be coming to the SEC. The Big 12 is talking with West Virginia and Louisville. Conference USA and Mountain West are talking about a merger. How does USM fit in all this? Not sure what to think right now. What say you?
But Texas A&M is happy with their decision. Check out their new video:
Busey has a cat story for us as we get ready to play the cats:
2 weeks from last night MSU kicks off it’s 100th Men’s Basketball season. There will be 2 Exhibition games Saturday, October 29 vs. Florida Tech and Friday, November 4 vs. Pikeville. Then the season will open with us hosting Eastern Kentucky on Monday, November 7 at 7 p.m. Fortunately, this team, unlike the football team, will enter the season as underdogs. I think that’s a more comfortable place for us. This year’s team has all the talent and potential to do it all. Today there was the annual preseason press conference for the women’s and men’s team. It went very well. Coach Stansbury spoke along with Dee Bost, Brian Bryant, Rodney Hood, Wendell Lewis, Arnett Moultrie, Renardo Sidney, DeVille Smith, Shaun Smith, and Jalen Steele. They all said the right things (including Sid) and sound like a TEAM (Basketball Preseason Press Conference). We’ll see how that plays out on the court. Here are a few tweets courtesy of Brandon Marcello, Brad Locke, and Matthew Stevens during the press conference:
Renardo Sidney looks good. Has weight loss helped? “My body don’t hurt. Last year my body hurt every day in practice, every day in the game.”
PF Arnett Moultrie on Sidney: “He changed a lot. He’s like a whole new different person.”
Dee Bost on what Rodney Hood does better than most freshmen: “Score.” Yes, it’s really that simple folks.
Rodney Hood on his role: “Coach Stansbury wants me to be a playmaker, just play ball, not worry about mistakes.”
Bryant on Sid & Stansbury’s improved relationship: “When coach asks a question, he’s actually paying attention and listening.”
Stansbury on Sidney: “To Sid’s credit, he’s not perfect yet, but he’s made a lot of headway. Every part of his game has gotten better. No question, the biggest thing is he’s the most coachable he’s been. For the most part he’s been a good teammate.”
Stansbury says Rodney Hood has “the IT factor” that normal freshmen don’t normally have in the preseason.
Here’s a little bit of what Sid had to say. At least he’s halfway sitting up when talking to the media this year. Quote of the day comes from this clip at the end: “I’m not crazy, but sometimes I just get overheated.”:
Though most MSU fans would probably say the season has been a disappointment, I still think there is plenty left to play for. We’ve had some misfortune: 1) Trying to fill in spots left by some players that are having a big impact in the NFL now; 2) Overcoming inexperience and injuries on the Offensive Line; 3) Having our Senior QB lack confidence and consistency to the point of turning to the younger backup QB to salvage the season; 4) Seeing new Defensive Coordinators figure out how to get the defense to be a tough SEC defense with a lot of inexperience on the DL and at LB. Despite these misfortunes and others that I didn’t mention, with a win at Kentucky, we still have a chance to become bowl eligible, build for the future, and continue dominance in the Egg Bowl. Getting to a bowl is huge for us. Recruiting is a big part of being successful. I don’t think we can begin to see us get the big recruits until we can string together 3 or 4 bowl seasons in a row. Even if we go 6-6, it’s a step in the right direction and keeps us bowling. And who knows, if we can beat Kentucky and handle UT-Martin handily, we might just be able to give Bama and Arky more than they bargain for. Bama will be banged up coming off the game of the century as they make their way to Starkvegas. And Ole Miss gave everyone in the SEC the recipe for beating Arky this past weekend. So, though I don’t predict us to beat Bama or Arky, I wouldn’t be surprised if we can get on a roll and give them a tough game or maybe even upset one of them. And that would definitely turn our season around.
As far as Kentucky goes, we have to win this game. I’m still not sure if Mullen will stick with Tyler Russell or not, but I hope he does. I feel confident that our defense should have a good game. Currently our defense has moved up to the #31 ranked defense in the nation and Kentucky has the #118 ranked offense. Offensively, since Tyler Russell has taken over we are seeing more consistency. Less 3 and outs and switching field position kept us in the game against South Carolina and gave the defense time to rest and recover. Now we just have to put some points on the board. Kentucky has the 66th ranked defense and we have the 75th ranked offense. We need Vick Ballard to get the ball 20 times at a minimum in this game. Open up the run with the pass and let Vick go to work. Our team has had time to rest and work on fundamentals. Let’s see if we see a rejuvenated team this Saturday.
Here’s Coach John Hevesy’s (the OL coach) thoughts after practice today:
Tonight I found a neat video of Trevor Gordon Hall playing his guitar with a kalimba. A kalimba is an African thumb piano. I bought one last summer in South Africa for my wife. They’re interesting instruments, but I’d never seen one used with a guitar. Sit back and enjoy this nice soothing work of art.
There are so many plays, especially on offense, where you can see just 1 of the 11 guys on the field make a mistake and cost us from making a big play. Mullen talks about focusing on fundamentals this week and getting the younger guys a lot of reps in practice:
Center for MSU from 1979-1982
4 Time Super Bowl Center for the Buffalo Bills
Yesterday, MSU great, Kent Hull passed away at age 50. Kent was born in Ponotoc in 1961 and was raised in Greenwood. He lettered at MSU from 1979-1982. He played Center for the New Jersey Generals of the USFL from 1983-1985 and played for the Buffalo Bills from 1986-1996, playing in 4 straight Super Bowls from 1991-1994 and being named to the Pro Bowl 3 times. Hull apparently had intestinal bleeding and died in his Delta home yesterday.
Hull was selected to the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame in 1997, inducted into the Mississippi State University Sports Hall of Fame in 2000, received the Ralph C. Wilson Distinguished Service Award in 2001, was selected to the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 2002 and was the 19th inductee to the Wall of Fame at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo in 2002. Loved watching you play Hull. Some of you may have some good stories about “The Hull” that you’d like to share. I know Stoogedog had some classes with him at MSU.
If we can win 2 more games before the matchup with our instate rival, it will make the game much more interesting. And that’s what I expect us to do. We “should” beat Kentucky and UT-Martin. That would put us at 5 wins. And if Bama and Arky beat us, the Egg Bowl will be a huge game. Ole Miss would love nothing better than keeping us from going to a bowl. I do think we can compete with Bama and especially with Arky, but I don’t think anyone will be expecting us to win those games. If we can’t beat Kentucky, then we’ll be looking at the “Toilet Bowl” on Thanksgiving weekend. News broke yesterday that new jerseys have been ordered for the Egg Bowl game. Here’s a quick look at the “Addidas Rivalry Uniform” on the official MSU site. Glad they’re not black or pink. Notice the state of MS on the shoulder and golden numbers and golden trim. Make sure to click the link for a more detailed look at them. Nice!
So the rest of the season is about getting bowl eligible, which is huge. In order for us to start doing well in recruiting, we have to string together multiple years where we go to a bowl. If we could go to a bowl 3 or 4 years in a row, we will then see it pay off on signing day. Yes, expectations for this season were not met. But we still have a chance to salvage becoming bowl eligible, maybe even a winning season, and a streak vs. TSUN.
And of course, a Buseyism for the week. Good luck trying to figure this one out: