After each win, Logan Lowery of the Daily Journal recognizes several players and a coach that had outstanding performances and played a major role in Mississippi State’s victory. Check out who his offensive, defensive, special teams and coach of the week were.
Quarterback Tyler Russell
Senior * 6-4 * 220 * Meridian, Miss.
Passing: 12 of 14 for 102 yards Rushing: three carries for three yards
Logan’s take: Many people might be scratching their heads wondering why I didn’t go Dak Prescott here. I went with Russell because he was simply on his game Saturday night and had the most accurate passing night I’ve ever seen him have. He completed some tough passes with laser precision and even his lone incompletion during the first half was a pass that only De’Runnya Wilson was going to be able to make a play on. I have no idea why the dual quarterback rotation was abandoned in the second half and why Russell had only three snaps.
Linebacker Deontae Skinner
Senior * 6-2 * 250 * Macon, Miss.
Defense: eight tackles (six solo, two assists), 0.5 tackle for loss, one pass breakup, two quarterback hurries
Logan’s take: Skinner continues his fine senior season. He combined with fellow linebacker Benardrick McKinney to put up very similar numbers Saturday night. Skinner has always been a sure tackler, especially in the open field, but has really improved his pass coverage skills this season. He swatted away a pass against Bowling Green and is no longer a liability in that area of his game.
Long snapper Winston Chapman
Sophomore * 6-2 * 235 * Fairhope, Ala.
Special teams: six snaps
Logan’s take: Long snappers usually go unnoticed unless something goes terribly wrong. For the past 18 games, Chapman has made sure that hasn’t happened. The walk-on won over the snapping duties last season and has quietly had a solid career so far. Saturday night he made six snaps all on target. As a former high school center myself, I can appreciate the skill it takes to play this position.
Cornerback Tolando Cleveland
True freshman * 6-0 * 170 * Powder Springs, Ga.
Defense: three tackles (one solo, two assists), one sack, 0.5 tackle for loss, one fumble recovery
Logan’s take: Coming into Saturday night, Cleveland was probably the least talked about true freshman that has seen action this season. But with the injuries throughout the secondary, Cleveland’s play was increased and he fared well in his first extended action. He recorded the Bulldogs only sack and recovered a fumble on the final play of the game.
Logan’s take: No coach had as little experience to work with than Gonzales did this year. Robert Johnson was the only receiver with a start coming into the season and that was only one in 2011.But the young crop of receivers he inherited is already making headway. Saturday night Gonzales’ receivers combined for 13 catches for 135 yards. Although the unit did not produce any touchdowns, it was integral in keeping the chains moving.