Back Mississippi State Finds a Way

Back To SEC

Mississippi State Finds a Way

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
Follow us at Twitter.com/SouthernPigskin.  Become a fan at the SouthernPigskin.com Facebook Page

A fourth quarter rally results in a week one win for the Bulldogs.

Early in the fourth quarter, Mississippi State trailed Louisiana Tech 34-14. It was a striking score for a program expecting to take a step forward in year two of the Mike Leach era. From that point on, the Bulldogs, with some good play and some good fortune, did just that. With considerable pressure on late in game one, and consecutive matchups with NC State, Memphis, LSU, Texas A&M and Alabama upcoming, Mississippi State somehow found a way.

The Bulldogs promptly rallied to score 21 unanswered points over the final 12:01, with Will Rogers finding Jaden Walley on a 15-yard touchdown pass, and Brandon Ruiz converting the ensuing go-ahead extra point, with 3:37 remaining. When Louisiana Tech missed a potential game-winning 46-yard field goal as time expired, it was Mississippi State clinging to the slimmest of margins. In a contest where the homestanding Bulldogs had four turnovers and 12 penalties for 95 yards, they finished with one more point.

Contributions came from all over. The fourth quarter comeback started with a play on special teams, with Lideatrick Griffin responding to a Louisiana Tech field goal with a critical 70-yard kickoff return. Mississippi State scored a touchdown three plays later. Leach's Bulldogs then found the endzone on consecutive drives, with Rogers and running back Jo'quavious Marks starring. Rogers threw for 128 yards on 10-of-10 passing in the fourth quarter alone. Marks scored on runs of one and five yards. The Mississippi State defense forced back-to-back three-and-outs along the way.

It was far from a perfect game from the Bulldogs, quite the different showing from last season's introductory road triumph over the defending national champions. Though Louisiana Tech was a bowl team a year ago, the Bulldogs lost their final two games by a combined total of 90-13. That said, the end result, looking ahead to week two, is Mississippi State at 1-0. A win is a win, especially in an opener. 

Improvement, from the Bulldogs, will clearly have to be made as Mississippi State's next five opponents went 43-13 a year ago. Perhaps Saturday's fourth quarter provides some momentum.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports