What do we expect this weekend with one of the SEC’s hottest teams landing in Fayetteville this weekend? The Air Raid offense has been as good lately as it was when Mississippi State defeated LSU to begin the 2020 season. The Bulldogs come into Saturday’s matchup ranked as the 17th best team in the country according to the College Football Playoff committee.
Led by Will Rogers, the nations third leading passer in the country with 2890 yards, Mike Leach finally has a quarterback in Starkville that has command of what the Air Raid offense is. Short, intermediate and long throws are all part of this systematic offense that hasn’t changed much throughout the career of Leach. It doesn’t matter what kind of defense you run to combat this attack because State will gouge you with yards after catch. That is the big reason why Arkansas was able to upset the Bulldogs in 2020.
“Rush three, drop eight” is the call but can you limit the big plays? Arkansas was able to dictate the amount of big plays by them last season by keeping everything in front of them defensively.
Mississippi State has the “BIG MO” on their side as they have defeated three top 25 teams this season in Texas A&M, North Carolina State and Kentucky. In those wins Rogers was 115-of-147 (78%) for 1,046 yards and six touchdowns. Rogers is definitely going to be the key to making the offense go but take a look at the Bulldog’s defense. They’ve only allowed more than 34 points once this season when the lost to Alabama 49-9. The Dogs are very good at forcing turnovers to with 13 of them in 2021.
The Hogs have the ninth ranked rushing offense in the country but will line up against one of the country’s best run defenses. Mississippi State only allows 89 yards per game on the ground which is good for third conference. However, they have allowed around 224 yards through the air.
The one thing they have struggled with was defending a good dual threat quarterback. With KJ Jefferson’s ability to extend plays with his legs and deep ball threat it will give the Hogs an opportunity to pick up a big victory at home. A victory over the Bulldogs will give Arkansas their third victory of the season over a ranked team which should catapult the Hogs back into the top 25 in the polls and college football playoff rankings.