Football sideline bleacher and Gatorade stand at Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field.Mississippi State Bulldogs

Mississippi State football vs. Memphis Tigers game preview: Bulldogs set to start 2022 season

Mike Leach and his Mississippi State football team are getting set for their season opener. This year, the Bulldogs will get the pleasure of hosting the Memphis Tigers. MSU is looking to take a step forward this year and if they’re going to do that, a win to start the season would certainly help out a good bit.

Nobody really wants to see MSU fall flat against Memphis, right?

Well, I suppose Memphis football fans want that. The folks in Starkville, however, are looking for a win. And a win is theoretically feasible given the talent differential and the disparity in experience between these two programs. That said, a win isn’t guaranteed, though it does seem likely.

Let’s get ready to start this season.

Table of contents:

This is a section from Mississippi State football vs. Memphis preview: Everything you need for Bulldogs vs. Tigers post that was published earlier. To view the full article, click here.

Mississippi State football vs. Memphis Tigers: 3 storylines to watch

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  • Seth Henigan – Memphis’ sophomore quarterback seems to be pretty talented and had a really strong freshman season. In 2021, Henigan managed to complete 59.8 percent of his passes for 3,322 yards and 25 touchdowns against just 8 interceptions. That’s not bad at all! Henigan and the Tigers’ offense could, in theory, be a problem. But when the Bulldogs and Tigers met in Memphis a season ago, Mississippi State was able to keep him pretty quiet, holding him to just 159 passing yards, though he did throw two touchdowns and an interception.
  • Eddie Lewis – Lewis has been playing football for a few seasons and that sort of experience will be valuable for the Tigers as they travel to Starkville. His experience at Rutgers may not be the most impressive thing ever, but it’s not a bad resume builder. So far during his career, Lewis has caught 51 passes for 552 yards and 5 touchdowns. He’s worth watching out for.
  • Jevyon Ducker– Mississippi State’s defense is solid at stopping rushing attacks, but that probably won’t stop Memphis and Ducker from trying to get their ground game going. Ducker was really good in 2021 while with the Northern Illinois Huskies and there’s a good chance he’ll be good once again this year. He ran for 1,148 yards and 3 touchdowns on 5.4 yards per carry. The Bulldogs can’t afford to overlook him.

Mississippi State football vs. Memphis Tigers: 3 storylines to watch

Mississippi State avoiding any special teams mishaps and frustrations

Last season was a nightmare at times. Specifically when it came to (controversial) punt returns, missed field goals, and just other generally odd issues that cost the Bulldogs dearly.

How much of that has been changed heading into this season? Can MSU football fans expect to see the Bulldogs have more success and consistency whenever it comes to important special teams plays? Last year’s loss to Memphis was controversial largely due to issues with the officials calling the game, but it’s not absurd to say that the situation possibly could have potentially been avoided had the ball been handed to the ref.

So, what will things look like this year? Will the Bulldogs be able to consistently make field goals without giving anyone a heart attack?

Can the Bulldogs contain Memphis’ offense once again?

Mississippi State’s defense has been pretty solid under Zach Arnett’s guidance and his leadership should be able to help the Bulldogs have a solid defense once again. Despite the fact that the Bulldogs were outscored a season ago, Arnett’s defense did its share of keeping Mississippi State in that game in Memphis. The Tigers weren’t able to get even 300 yards of offense. Will that be the case once more?

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How polished and explosive is the Air Raid to start year 3?

Last year, Mississippi State fans got to see the highs and lows of the Air Raid. The Bulldogs’ offense was finally able to click (even if it wasn’t always the most consistent thing ever) and Mississippi State went from winning 4 games in 2020 to getting 7 wins and a bowl appearance in 2021. Will Rogers threw for an astonishing 4,739 yards, 36 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions all while completing 73.9 percent of his passes.

Yes, Mississippi State throws the ball a lot. That’s absolutely obvious. But the Bulldogs were able to do it very effectively and very efficiently in 2021. Will that be the case again this season?

I guess we’ll see.

Mississippi State football vs. Memphis Tigers history

Given their proximity, it’s no shocker that the Mississippi State Bulldogs and Memphis Tigers have played each other over the years. The first time the MSU football team met up with Memphis happened all the way back in 1951 when the Bulldogs beat the Tigers 27-20 in Memphis.

This series wasn’t played every single year, but it was frequent for a while.

State continued to find success over Memphis way back in the day in the early years of this series and the Bulldogs won the first nine games they played against the Tigers from 1951 to 1961. Memphis responded by stringing together three straight wins against MSU between the years of 1962 and 1965.

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MSU didn’t get the chance to take on the Tigers again until 1974 and the Bulldogs went and won the next few meetings. Overall, this is a series that Mississippi State has overwhelmingly found success in. In recent years, the Bulldogs won every contest with Memphis from 1994 to 2011.

After a decade of a break between the two teams, Mississippi State and Memphis faced each other once more in 2021. And that game was awful.

Here’s to hoping that this game will be better.

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

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