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Steve’s Summer Size-Up: No. 12, Mississippi State Bulldogs

MississippiState

Opponent No. 12: Mississippi State, November 28

  • SEC West member
  • 2014 record: 10-3, 6-2, lost to Ole Miss 37-17
  • Difficulty Ranking: 6th
  • Head Coach: Dan Mullen (46-31, starting year 7)
  • Colors: Maroon & White
  • Enrollment: 20,138 (2014)>/li>
  • Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field capacity: 61,337

 

Forecast: Bully the Bulldog may not have saved up enough bones for the November that’s coming this year (Nov. 5 at Mizzou, Nov. 14 against Bama, Nov. 21 at Arkansas and Nov. 28 against Ole Miss) with only seven returning starters, 121st in nation. The first real test and crystal ball projection will occur on September 12 when the Dawgs host LSU. The Bengals are still smarting from the whuppin’ that the Bulldogs handed them last season in Baton Rouge. With three starters departed in the secondary including both safeties, LSU will definitely attempt to exploit this possible weakness by throwing the ball often and long. Both lines must be rebuilt and the offensive line is a major concern as three starters who combined for 113 career starts are gone. Leading rusher from last season, Josh Robinson, who averaged 6.33 yards per catch also must be replaced. On the defensive side of the ledger, leading tackler and linebacker Benardrick McKinney (71 stops) has also departed Starkville. And to make matters even worse, the team’s only PK has left to pursue a career in dentistry. Wow! Can Allstar senior quarterback Dak Prescott lead the Dawgs to the promised land once again? Prescott was the first ever Bulldog to accumulate more than 3,000 total yards as he piled up 4470 a year ago! His primary target, De’Runnya Wison, returns who collected 47 tosses for 680 yards and nine scores last fall.

Conclusion: The rehab job that the Bulldogs face is monumental. This season will be Coach Mullen’s greatest test by far. It’s easy to understand why most forecasters are calling for a last place finish. The LSU outcome will let everyone know if they’re right. This game is the critical game of the season for both teams as whoever ends up with the loss can forget about any bragging rights come bowl selection. It’s never easy to win in Starkville, however, this is one year when Rebel fans need to arrive early and stay late. In a normal year, we would never have concluded that this away game would be the sixth most difficult game of the year as it would have definitely been in the top three. The Egg Bowl will remain in Oxford for another year. In order to view it, drive up north until you find the Grove. The trophy will be just beyond the Walk of Champions. Book it Dano!

Our score prediction: Ole Miss 34, MSU 17 (Rebs finish 11-1, 7-1 with their first trip to the SEC championship game awaiting)

Epilogue: This is going to be one of the finest years ever in Ole Miss football history if four things come together:

  • Number One: A running game with teeth must evolve to take pressure off the air game.
  • Number Two: A leader must emerge at QB who doesn’t beat ourselves with timely turnovers.
  • Number Three: Key injuries like those of a year ago cannot recur.
  • And Number Four: The team and fans must stay focused on the game at hand and not start placing wins on the schedule prior to taking the field. The SEC West is brutal. Let us never forget where we reside! Hotty Toddy to all.
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    Steve Vassallo

    Steve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at sovassallo@gmail.com or call him at 985-852-7745.

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