It’s time to pay Zach Arnett. It’s time to give him a lot of money. It’s time to ensure that he’s with the Mississippi State Bulldogs for as long as possible. There’s absolutely no way that Mississippi State could have won the Egg Bowl without his defense, which has been consistently ferocious throughout the season and is a large reason for MSU getting to 8-4 this year.
What Arnett and his defense were able to pull off against Ole Miss is something that is truly remarkable. The Bulldogs’ defense found a way to slow a dominant rushing attack in its own stadium as they stymied one of the most impressive offenses in the country.
At various times throughout the evening, the Bulldogs’ defense found ways to slow down an offense that was previously averaging 505 total yards of offense per game. In the Egg Bowl, the Rebels were only able to gain 335 yards.
Had the Ole Miss offense been able to operate as it normally does, MSU would have had a hard time keeping up. But that certainly wasn’t the case last night.
And Arnett should be recognized for that.
Mississippi State defense stuffed Ole Miss’ heralded rushing attack during Egg Bowl
What Mississippi State did against one of the most potent rushing attacks in the country is something that should be celebrated.
It’s worth noting that Ole Miss only mustered 22 points against Mississippi State, which is tied for second-lowest in the amount of points scored in any game for the Rebels throughout the season. On average, Ole Miss was scoring 32 points per game against SEC foes prior to the Egg Bowl.
It should also be highlighted that the Bulldogs stuffed one of the best rushing attacks in the country. Ole Miss was averaging 278.3 rushing yards per game before the Egg Bowl. Against Mississippi State, Ole Miss only managed to run for a grand total of 78 rushing yards on 39 carries. Mississippi State held the Rebels to 2 yards per carry. Before playing the Bulldogs, Ole Miss averaged 5.6 yards per carry.
Oh, and Ole Miss’ star running back Quinshon Judkins only gained 91 yards on 22 carries for 4.1 yards per carry. He was also held out of the end zone. For a player that was averaging 125.9 yards on 20.8 carries for over 6 yards a carry along with 1.45 rushing touchdowns a game, those numbers aren’t great!
And that was good for MSU.
Arnett clearly had a game plan set in place that was designed around forcing Ole Miss to try and beat the Bulldogs through the air. State executed brilliantly when it came to shutting down the most dangerous aspect of what the Rebels can do offensively. The tempo didn’t seem to bother State too much and the Bulldogs sure found a way to routinely get after Jaxson Dart, pressuring the young, mobile quarterback at various times throughout the evening.
And it’s fair to argue that Arnett’s defense is the biggest reason that Mississippi State was able to find a way to victory against the Rebels. The Bulldogs owe him for this Egg Bowl win. And they’ve been reliant upon his defense throughout much of this season.
It’s time to make sure he’s compensated at whatever rate he could possibly want. Arnett’s defense is capable of giving MSU a chance to make any game competitive, even if the offense is sporadic or performing poorly on the road. MSU’s defensive coordinator might just be the best in the country.
MSU must make sure that he’s compensated accordingly.