Kneauxing the Enemy 2021 Mississippi State
by Bryan Follins
Mississippi State is the fourth opponent of the 2021 season for the Purple and Gold. So far, the Bulldogs have not been as offensively prolific as expected under Mike Leach. After piling up over 600 yards of offense in the 2020 season opener against LSU, State’s offense practically vanished, and so did a few Bulldogs players, by way of the transfer portal.
The 2021 Bulldog offense is led by sophomore quarterback Will Rogers. He threw for 370 yards and three touchdowns in State’s opening win against Louisiana Tech, 294 yards and two TDs in a victory over North Carolina State, and 419 yards and three touchdowns in their recent lost to Memphis. Rogers threw 67 passes against Memphis. He completed fifty.
The primary targets for Rogers are junior Makai Polk and sophomore Jaden Wadley. Polk has 226 yards receiving and one touchdown for the season. Wadley has 116 and three scoring grabs for the campaign. He averages 11.9 yards per catch.
The Bulldogs do not run much, or at least they have not done so over the first three games. Sophomore running back Jo’quavious Marks is the leading rusher for the Bulldogs after three contests with 84 yards. Dillon Johnson, another sophomore, has 79 yards rushing after three games.
The Mississippi State offensive line is anchored by sophomore left tackle Charles Cross. Both of the guards are redshirt juniors, Kameron Jones and Kwatrivous Johnson. Redshirt senior Scott Lashley is the senior right tackle.
On defense, junior linebacker Jett Johnson leads the team in tackes with 21, 12 unassisted. Junior cornerback Martin Emerson, a good cornerback, is second on the team in tackles with 19 and 13 solos. Sophomore cornerback Emmanuel Forbes and redshirt junior linebacker Aaron Brule have three tackles for losses (tfls) each, including one sack apiece, after three games.
One thing is clear, both State and the Purple and Gold are very similar, at least so far. Both teams throw the ball frequently, and do it well. Both squads have inconsistent or no running attacks. They both are searching for an identity on defense.
It should be an interesting contest Saturday, as both teams will seek an all important conference win.