Mississippi State football coach Mike Leach walks with quarterback Will Rogers and wide receiver Jamire Calvin.Mississippi State Bulldogs

Mississippi State football vs. Arizona preview: Everything you need for Bulldogs vs. Wildcats

Week one went pretty well for Mike Leach and the Mississippi State football team. The Bulldogs were able to jump out to a solid victory over the Memphis Tigers. But now Mississippi State has to hit the road and face off against the Arizona Wildcats.

Arizona was a mess a season ago as the Wildcats won just one game in 2021. So far, through one game this year, they’ve already matched that win total.

While Mississippi State was beating up on Memphis in week 1, Arizona came out on top of a solid San Diego State team all the way out on the west coast. That should certainly raise some eyebrows and make it clear that this particular Arizona team can’t just be overlooked by anyone right now.

With that being said, here’s just about anything and everything could possibly need to keep up with the Bulldogs as they head out west for this contest. Minus the caffeine, that is. I’m almost certain that you’ll need some caffeine to try and get through this game. Go ahead and take a trip to Walmart so that you can stock up on Mello Yellow and buy a new coffee can this week.

Table of contents:

Mississippi State football vs. Arizona Wildcats game preview:

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Mississippi State football: 3 Arizona Wildcats to watch

  • Jayden De Laura – Arizona’s quarterback is off to a hot start this season. The former Washington State Cougar is now looking to do some damage for the Wildcats and he’s very clearly someone the Mississippi State Bulldogs will want to account for this week. Last week on the road against San Diego State, De Laura completed 62.9% of his passes for 299 yards and 4 touchdowns against 1 interception. That’s pretty good. Here’s to hoping that Zach Arnett and company have an answer for him this week.
  • DJ Williams – Like De Laura, DJ Williams came to Arizona via a transfer and he’s been pretty good with the Wildcats so far. Formerly a member of the Florida State Seminoles, Williams ran for 88 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries (6.3 yards per carry) last week against San Diego State. Williams has talent and provides some nice balance to Arizona’s offense.
  • Jacob Cowing – Oh, hey, another transfer for Arizona that managed to do some impressive damage to San Diego State’s defense. Meet Jacob Cowing, formerly a member of the University of Texas – El Paso Miners. Cowing couldn’t stop catching passes last week as he totaled 8 receptions for 152 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Bulldogs can’t afford to look past Cowing this week. Unless they’d like to have touchdowns scored on them, that is. Nobody wants touchdowns scored on them, though. So, expect Cowing to get plenty of attention this week.

Mississippi State football vs. Arizona Wildcats: 3 storylines to watch

How far has Arizona come under Jedd Fisch?

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If you’ve kept up with college football much over the past few seasons, you’re probably familiar with the fact that Arizona hasn’t been all that successful in recent seasons. That’s why the folks out in Tucson decided to turn to Jedd Fisch to try and get things turned around.

How has that worked so far? Well, they went 1-11 last year. But that might be a “year 0” situation where the program is working on a complete and total reset. We’re familiar with those.

So, how good will Fisch and the Wildcats be this season? Arizona landed a pretty talented quarterback in Jayden De Laura. Like Mississippi State’s head coach, De Laura left Washington State for a potentially better opportunity than what he had in the Pacific Northwest. This game is a great opportunity for Mississippi State to prove how far it’s come under Mike Leach’s guidance. It’s also a great test for Fisch and his developing program.

Mike Leach (and his offense) will be back in Tucson for the first time in a few years

During his time with the Washington State Cougars, Mike Leach’s offense found plenty of success whenever he had the opportunity to meet up with the Wildcats. During his games against Arizona, Leach’s offense averaged 46.8 points.

In Tucson, Washington State was able to average 35.3 points per game under Leach’s leadership.

Now with the Mississippi State Bulldogs and with the Air Raid clicking pretty effectively, it’ll be interesting to see just how well Leach’s offense works out in the desert this time around. Can the Bulldogs tally 69 points like Leach’s squads did in 2016 and 2018 in Pullman, Washington? Or will the offense be slowed a bit on the road like during some of Washington State’s games in Tucson?

How will Mississippi State perform on the road in a late night game?

Another week of the 2022 season and another game where the Bulldogs will be up late. Last week was caused by a lovely, horrendous weather delay and some impressive rain moving through Starkville. This week is because the Pac-12 apparently loves scheduling games when we should all be getting ready to get some sleep.

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So, how will the Bulldogs do this week?

This is the first road trip of the season and it’s honestly a pretty solid place to get tested this year. Arizona is working on rebuilding and Jedd Fisch seems to have some momentum. Arizona should be a fairly beatable opponent, but they’re likely not the same pushover they were a year ago. Let’s see how the Air Raid works late at night out west.

Mississippi State football vs. Arizona Wildcats history

These two teams have yet to meet. There’s no history here between these two programs. Literally nothing has happened (on the football field) between these two schools.

HOWEVER.

There is a little history involving the Wildcats and MSU’s head coach.

Mike Leach’s history vs. Arizona Wildcats

Mississippi State football coach Mike Leach and quarterback Will Rogers shake hands prior to Bulldogs' game against Memphis Tigers at Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field.
Mississippi State football coach Mike Leach and quarterback Will Rogers shake hands prior to Bulldogs’ game against Memphis Tigers at Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field. Photo: Kevin Snyder/Mississippi State Athletics.

Throughout his pretty lengthy coaching career, Leach has actually had a few opportunities to take on the Wildcats, and that shouldn’t be all that surprising for folks who are familiar with him. In case you aren’t, let’s get you up to speed on Leach’s experience coaching against Arizona.

Prior to coaching in Starkville and the SEC, Leach was charged with leading the Washington State Cougars. And, for the most part, Wazzu was solidly successful thanks to Leach’s leadership from 2012 to 2019. That includes the Cougars’ meeting with the Wildcats. Washington State wasn’t perfect against Arizona, but they won more times than not. The two teams faced each other in every season from 2013 through to 2018 for a total of 6 meetings. Washington State took four of those contests, 2013, 2015, 2016, and 2018.

In Washington State’s wins, the Cougars came out on top with an average score of 51.75 to 23.5. In the two losses that Leach suffered, Washington State fell by an average score of 58.5 to 37.

Some of these contests weren’t all that close, to be completely honest.

MSU’s defense is a good bit better than most what Leach had to work with while at Washington State and the Bulldogs’ offense sure seems to be clicking now. It’s also worth noting that Arizona is working on a pretty tough rebuilding project.

Oh, and Leach went 2-1 in Tucson while he was with Wazzu.

Mississippi State football vs. Arizona Wildcats: Bulldogs favored vs. Wildcats

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It shouldn’t come as a shock to many that the MSU Bulldogs would be favored over the Wildcats. Sure, this is a long trip across the country and Mississippi State isn’t the home team here. That should absolutely be acknowledged when discussing this game.

It should also be pointed out that while Arizona is still rebuilding its program, the Wildcats don’t have the same team from that 1-win squad a season ago. Arizona was able to get a solid week 1 win over San Diego State while out on the road.

The Wildcats have improved.

It remains to be seen just how much improvement that program has gone through though. And while there is improvement that can be observed, Mississippi State has almost certainly improved from a season ago as well. Year three of the Mike Leach era is off to a thrilling start after the Bulldogs demolished the Memphis Tigers in a late, rainy game in Starkville.

While there’s not likely to be as much rain this week, the game is still going to be late. And it’s a road contest. So, with all of that taken into consideration, the folks who like it when people bet on these sorts of events are still pretty confident that Mississippi State should win this game.

At the moment, the Bulldogs are a 10.5 point road favorite. That’s not bad. The over/under is currently set at 60.5 points. It probably wouldn’t be too shocking to see these two teams get past that, but it’s kinda hard to predict some of this given the sample size that we have to work with.

If you take a look at ESPN’s fancy PickCenter tool thing that’s right over here, you can get more insight into everything going on with the gambling scene on this one.

Mississippi State football vs. Arizona Wildcats: TV channel, live stream, live stats, online coverage

Look, not everyone can make it out all the way to Tucson to watch a late night game between the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the Arizona Wildcats. That’s totally understandable. If you are there and you’re wearing Maroon and White, you’re doing great. If you can’t make it, that’s absolutely, 100% fine too! There are still plenty of ways to keep up with MSU and Arizona. You just might need some caffeine.

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Mississippi State vs. Arizona game info:

  • Who: Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. Arizona
  • What: Game 2 of the 2022 MSU football season
  • When: Saturday, Sept. 10 at 10 p.m. CT
  • Where: Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Arizona

How to watch Mississippi State vs. Arizona:

Mississippi State vs. Arizona radio information:

Mississippi State vs. Arizona online coverage and live stats:

Mississippi State football vs. Arizona Wildcats weather forecast

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Well, after frustrating rain delays that arguably impacted how sloppy things got at times for the Mississippi State Bulldogs at home in Starkville against the Memphis Tigers on Saturday, it’s fair to say that the weather might be a little more conducive to throwing the ball a thousand times a game this week.

Mississippi State’s lengthy road trip out west to Tucson, Arizona should feature considerably better weather for this week’s game against the Arizona Wildcats.

That said, there’s still a slight chance of rain in the forecast. Because of course there is. The rain chances appear to be fairly insignificant, all things considered, but it’s still worth noting that there’s a percentage right there on Weather.com’s weekend forecast for Saturday night.

As of publishing, the forecast does appear to be pretty friendly. There’s a forecasted high of 93 on Saturday and a nice, cozy low of 71. That’s pretty great. It does look like it could be a little breezy, but nothing ridiculous at the moment. During the day there’s a 10% chance of rain. That increases to 13% at night.

So, not too bad!

If, for whatever reason, you’d like to take a look at a different weather forecast, just check out how Saturday looks according to Accuweather. They’ve got things broken down by morning, day, and night right there in that link prepared for you.

Still, if you’re headed out that way, make sure you stay hydrated and keep an eye on the radar. Drink plenty of water and stay in cool areas. There’s no need to get overheated during your trip out to the desert. Tucson is a great town and you should make sure that you enjoy yourself, but don’t get too hot out there.

It’s worth noting that all of this can change between now and Saturday. I’m no meteorologist, just a sports blogging storyteller. So, listen to the professionals on this one.

Mississippi State football vs. Arizona Wildcats 2022 prediction

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Mike Leach will be coaching in familiar territory as he takes his Mississippi State Bulldogs out west for a late night game against the Arizona Wildcats.

This game could get weird and knowing that makes it hard to predict an outcome here.

There’s certainly part of me that is nervous about this game and I think there are elements about this particular contest that should be concerning. Pac-12 After Dark games often get a little weird and there’s certainly a chance that happens in this game. It’s late. Mississippi State is flying halfway across the country for a road contest.

I don’t like that!

But taking a step back and looking at the differences in these two programs with where they stand currently and it is pretty hard not to be optimistic about State’s chances of coming out on top of this game. Mississippi State should be able to win this game and, all things considered, it shouldn’t be close by the time it’s all said and done.

Arizona should certainly be better than it was a season ago, but the Wildcats are still working on rebuilding and things like that just aren’t typically done all that quickly. While it’s fair to be concerned about Arizona causing some chaos and keeping things close, Mississippi State’s offense has the ability to control the clock, proved that it can stretch the field, and will spread Arizona’s defense out a bit.

On top of that, expect the Bulldogs to control the line of scrimmage pretty well and make things challenging for Jayden De Laura. Arizona can show that it is much better than it was last season, but it still feels like the Wildcats will need to take some steps forward before they can win a game like this. Especially considering how impressive Mississippi State looked at times against Memphis in the rain.

Prediction: Mississippi State 42, Arizona 27

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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