The Mississippi State Bulldogs went 7-6 last year and ended the season in a high note with a 44-7 trouncing of the Rice Owls in the Liberty Bowl. I was the 4th bowl game in a row for the Bulldogs. This year they have 57 lettermen, including 16 starters and should be primed for another run at a bowl game. Preview & schedule are below.
The Bulldogs put up 27.7 ppg last year and with 8 starters back they should be even better this time around. Dual threat QB Dak Prescott is back after throwing for 1940 yards and 10 TD’s last year, while also leading the team in rushing with 829 yards and 13 TDs. They do lose their top RB in Ladrius Perkins, but their next 5 ball carriers do return, including Josh Robinson, who ran for 459 yards and 3 TDs last year, at 5.9 ypc. The WR corps looks very solid with 4 players back that that averaged at least 11.4 yards per catch and had at least 351 yards receiving. The OL has 3 starters back, while 4 of the 5 in the starting lineup are seniors, but still his is an average group at best. The defense has been solid for this team that last few years and this group should be solid once again, with 8 starters back and 9 of their top 11 tacklers. Benardrick McKinney led the team in both tackles (71) and sacks (3.5) last year and is back to anchor a LB corps that looks to be very solid. DE Preston Smith had a nice year last year with 2.5 sacks, 4 TFL and 3 PBUs, while CBs Jamerson Love and Traveze Calhoun are both back to lead an average secondary, after the two combined for 11 PBs and 6 INTs last year.
The Bulldogs have plenty of talent back to make a run at a 5th straight bowl game. The offense looks better than last year group overall, but still they will need and average OL to play at an above average level, especially when going up against some of the tough DL that the SEC has to offer. The Defense overall looks solid and has plenty of depth as they have lost just 4 lettermen from this group, while returning 27, plus have added a few solid recruits. Road games vs LSU, Alabama and Ole Miss will be tough, while a home date with Auburn will also be tough, but the rest of the slate looks rather simple and it should be enough to give this team 7 or 8 wins and a 5th straight bowl appearance. KEY TREND: 2-11 ATS as favorites of 14 or more from game 2 on out.
2014 Mississippi State Football Schedule
Aug. 30 Southern Miss
Sep. 6 UAB
Sep. 13 at South Alabama
Sep. 20 at LSU
Sep. 27 OPEN DATE
Oct. 4 Texas A&M
Oct. 11 Auburn
Oct. 18 OPEN DATE
Oct. 25 at Kentucky
Nov. 1 Arkansas
Nov. 8 UT-Martin
Nov. 15 at Alabama
Nov. 22 Vanderbilt
Nov. 29 at Ole Miss
Info gathered From Phil Steele's CFB Preview and Athlon Sports
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