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Can Mississippi State avoid a hangover game against Arkansas?



Photo: Aaron Cornia/Mississippi State Athletics

After coming off a monumental upset victory over a top 10 team on the road in the SEC while debuting a new coach who utilizes an unconventional offense that many expected to fall short against SEC defenses, it would be reasonable to expect the Mississippi State Bulldogs to be on cloud nine for most of the past week.

Even if you were to ignore the context around this particular matchup between MSU and LSU, this win was significant for the Bulldogs for other reasons. After all, it’s not like the Mississippi State football team has a ton of wins over the LSU Tigers in its program history.

To claim a significant win over LSU in stunning and dominant fashion has to mean a lot to the Bulldogs, a team many (myself included) expected to struggle to adjust to Mike Leach’s offense.

One 44-34 win over the Tigers later and it’s clear that MSU might actually be pretty good. In fact, there’s even a chance that the Bulldogs are really good this year! Leach and his Bulldogs made a statement in their first week of the 2020 Mississippi State football season.

Now they need to make sure they avoid stumbling and falling flat against Arkansas. The Mississippi State Bulldogs can’t afford to be caught celebrating their win over the Tigers as they’re playing the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Photo: Mississippi State Athletics

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Bama is still the best in the SEC West, and the SEC as a whole, but the Tide might find themselves facing an interesting challenge from an opponent who might be far better than anyone could have realistically expected this season.

The Razorbacks are far from what many would consider to be a “good” team. They’ve been struggling and collapsing and rebuilding and collapsing again for most of the past decade.

But, as is the case with all things 2020, just about anything can happen. Arkansas State knocked off Kansas State who then in turn upset the Oklahoma Sooners. Louisiana thumped Iowa State. As we all know, Mississippi State clobbered LSU.

This is a weird year and weird things are happening.

And it’s worth noting how Arkansas found ways to challenge the No. 4 Georgia Bulldogs. Though the game was really only truly competitive for about one half, the Razorbacks deserve plenty of credit for finding a way to stump Kirby Smart and UGA.

Georgia’s offense was stymied in the first half and Smart’s Bulldogs only managed a whopping five points in the first 30 minutes of the game.

They went on to score 22 in the third quarter, but still, Arkansas should’ve been outmatched and overpowered from the get go. The talent disparity between the two teams should’ve allowed for UGA to simply walk away with an easy win free of any and all drama.

Thankfully, Mike Leach seems intent on challenging his team to continue to improve throughout the season. While Mississippi State played great against LSU, MSU can’t afford to rest on its laurels from one game and not adequately prepare for its other opponents.

To quote myself from earlier this week:

“Mississippi State’s head coach made sure to remind them that there was still work to be done. As shown in a video shared by the official Mississippi State football twitter account, Leach states MSU must continue to improve.

“As good as you think this game was, we played this game, we have to get better this week. We have to get a week better this week,” Leach challenged his team.”

-Me, published here
Mike Leach and the Mississippi State football team celebrate after beating the LSU Tigers in 2020. Photo: Austin Perryman/Mississippi State Athletics

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Mike Leach and the Mississippi State Bulldogs certainly have a lot to celebrate.

If Mississippi State can avoid a hangover from the highs of beating LSU, then this week’s contest shouldn’t be much of an issue. If the Bulldogs heeded what Leach said in the locker room after MSU upset LSU, then State should be able to win with ease.

Here’s to hoping that there’s no crazy upset in Starkville on Saturday.

For more independent Mississippi State news and commentary, follow The Underdog Tribune on Facebook and Twitter. Follow Ethan Lee on Facebook and Twitter.


2 responses to “Can Mississippi State avoid a hangover game against Arkansas?”

  1. […] it turns out, Mike Leach and the Mississippi State football team were completely unable to avoid a hangover game against the Arkansas Razorbacks. One week after tearing through the LSU Tigers, Mississippi State was humbled by Arkansas in Davis […]

  2. […] a couple weeks ago when I asked if Mississippi State would be able to avoid a hangover game against Arkansas after the Bulldogs took down the then No. 6 LSU […]

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