The Mississippi State Bulldogs took a trip all the way out to Tucson and will be headed back to Starkville with a 39- 17 win over the Arizona Wildcats. And because of the nature of this nonsensical game, we’ve got a ton to talk about with the Bulldogs’ win.
So, you know, here are five thoughts on the whole event.
Do we know how good Arizona really is?
This game was bizarre for a lot of reasons and it proved to be a really good road test for this Mississippi State football team. One thing I’m certainly curious about is if we know just how good this particular Arizona Wildcats team is. And I’m not convinced we know the answer to this question, nor will we know the answer to this until the rest of this season plays out.
I think this Wildcats team could be thrilling to watch throughout the season. I think it’s possible that this Wildcats team wins a few games that it probably shouldn’t. But at the same time, I suspect that maybe Arizona makes some really bad mistakes here and there and loses a game or two that it should probably be good enough to win.
I suspect that Arizona has some potential. With a dynamic quarterback and some intriguing talent packed around him, maybe this bunch could make things interesting out in the Pac-12 this year. This bunch is certainly much better than the 1-win team that was fielded a season ago.
Or maybe this game was just a sloppy disaster and the Bulldogs played down to their level of competition. But I don’t think that’s the case.
I’m a little worried about Mississippi State’s offensive line
I really don’t like that Arizona was able to cause issues for Mississippi State’s offense this evening. I really don’t like that Will Rogers was pressured and unable to escape some of that pressure. That’s not great to see and I’m sure it’s infuriating for the offensive line and Rogers.
That said, there were times when the Bulldogs seemed really solid up front and there were moments when Mississippi State ran the ball really well (relatively speaking, that is)!
But if Mississippi State is struggling with Arizona’s front 7, then things won’t be much fun at times against some of the SEC defenses that the Bulldogs will have to face throughout the remainder of the season. Maybe these issues aren’t going to be an issue later on. Maybe Arizona has a really good pass rush and is adept at creating chaos for opposing quarterbacks.
I don’t know, but I’m slightly concerned.
The refs were less than ideal
I’m generally not much of a fan of blaming refs for less than perfect circumstances, but this bunch of referees certainly missed more than their fair share of pass interference calls. And I’m not a fan of that. Not one bit. That definitely had an impact on this game, even if it is just in the form of a few points here and there.
I don’t like it!
And I don’t like any of this.
Mississippi State has potential, but the Bulldogs need consistency
The 2022 Mississippi State football team certainly has the potential to go out and have a lot of fun this season. The Bulldogs should be able to grab some impressive wins, beat up on some interesting teams, and end the year with a respectable record that makes MSU fans proud.
But man does this team sometimes find unique ways to be frustrating at times. And I’d greatly appreciate it if the Bulldogs ended up finding more ways to not make simple mistakes. Dropped passes, frustrating penalties, weird fumbles. I’d prefer it if those sorts of things didn’t happen. Most of all, I’d REALLY appreciate consistently solid field goal kicking and extra point attempts.
I’d like to see some of that get improved upon as this team keeps moving forward throughout the year.
If Mississippi State is able to work through some of those issues and polish what it already does really well, then maybe we’re celebrating nine wins and a fun bowl berth. But, uh, let’s work through some issues.
Hey, look, the Mississippi State Bulldogs got out of there and that’s all that matters
At the end of the day, Mississippi State went out to Tucson and then gets the chance to return home with a dominant win over Arizona. Sure, there are some concerns and plenty of points of frustration, but there’s a lot to be proud of for this bunch. Will Rogers tossed four touchdown passes. He was incredibly efficient. The Bulldogs ran the ball well when they were focused on that.
Even the defense proved to be pretty stout and was able to force Arizona into making some notable mistakes. For as much as some want to complain about the defense’s showing, State quieted Arizona’s offense, caused turnovers, and limited what the Wildcats were hoping to accomplish.
At the end of the day, the Bulldogs came out with a win after being tested by an intriguing team. This was a weird game. It was a late road trip and it featured a team that was overhauled extensively during the offseason. Mississippi State made some mistakes. The Bulldogs have plenty to build upon.