2015 College Football Preview: Mississippi State Bulldogs

Last season, the Mississippi State Bulldogs were a captivating team to watch. Week after week, they seemed to pull off impressive win after impressive win until, eventually, they became the #1 ranked team in the nation. With a perfect 9-0 record, the inevitable came, and they had to face Alabama at Tuscaloosa. Mississippi State lost 20-25 in a close defeat. The Bulldogs were never the same after 'Bama and they would go on to lose at Ole Miss two weeks later, ruining their chances of being in the College Football Playoff. It didn’t get any better as they would then lose to Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl. Let’s see how the season is looking for the Bulldogs in 2015. 2015 Schedule:
  1. Sept. 5th—at Southern Mississippi
  2. Sept. 12th—LSU
  3. Sept. 19th—Northwestern State
  4. Sept. 26th—at Auburn
  5. Oct. 3rd—at Texas A&M
  6. Oct. 10th—Troy
  7. Oct. 17th—Louisiana Tech
  8. Oct. 24th—Kentucky
  9. BYE
  10. Nov. 5th—at Missouri (Thursday Night)
  11. Nov. 14th—Alabama
  12. Nov. 21st—at Arkansas
  13. Nov. 28th—Ole Miss
Offense: Last season, the Bulldogs had a great rushing attack in RB Josh Robinson. Sadly, he left early for the NFL, but he did not leave MSSU high and dry. The duo of juniors Brandon Holloway and Ashton Shumpert will look to continue to keep their strong rushing game together. Surprisingly, the QB Dak Prescott was one of the top rushers for the offense last season. His productivity dropped near the end of the season due to an ankle injury. He will look to be a consistent runner this season as well and stay healthy. The passing game is also very strong for the Bulldogs, and it strives because of the success of such a strong run game. Dak Prescott is a great passer for this team and has really improved over the years. He is surrounded by a very talented receiving staff this season. Junior WR De’Runnya Wilson leads the receivers; he is coming back from a knee injury last season and will look to be stronger than ever. Junior receiver Fred Ross will be a great #2 receiver and will help make a tough duo for opposing teams to stop. The offensive line for the Bulldogs is not looking good for this season. They lost their three starting offensive linemen from last season and their top three options for the starting spot at center. Defense: The rushing defense for the Bulldogs ranked 44th in the nation by averaging 151.5 rushing yards per game. The defense will be without two of their stars this year, DE Preston Smith and LB Benardrick McKinney. Both were solid contributors to the defense and will be sorely missed. The anchor for the LB core will be junior Beniquez Brown. He will have to be the leader of a very young LB core this season. The pass rush will miss Preston Smith and his 9 sacks a great deal this season. Left to fill the void will be Ryan Brown and A.J. Jefferson. Both are not sack masters by any means, but they will hope to try and cause some pressure on the opposing QB. The pass defense struggled last season giving up 272.8 yards per game, which ranked 117th in the NCAA. This year the secondary still looks a little bleak but there is more experience on the squad which should help out some. 2015 Season Outlook: Last year, the Bulldogs had a roller coaster ride, struggling against teams they shouldn’t have struggled against. They had some tough road games against Alabama, LSU, Kentucky, and Ole Miss. This year, they should not have as tough of a schedule, this year the Bulldogs face LSU, Bama, and Ole Miss at home this year. While all three will be tough SEC battles, Mississippi State will have the home field advantage. The only truly tough road games they will have to go on will be Auburn and Texas A&M at Kyle Field. Due to a weaker defense, and a QB who went on a decline towards the end of last season, I am questioning whether the Bulldogs can pull off another great season like last year. I can see another strong season from MSSU, but they will not be headed to the College Football Playoff this year. 2016 NFL Draft Prospects: #15 QB, Dak Prescott, Senior—6’2”, 230 lbs #81 WR, De’Runnya Wilson, Junior—6’5”, 225 lbs #45 LB, Zach Johnson, Senior—6’2”, 210 lbs Austin Morris is the creator of The Scouting Lab. He is a graduate of National Football Post’s Introduction to Scouting and Scouting Boot Camp. He can be reached at amorris3585@scc.stanly.edu

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