Mississippi State’s fourth quarter rally fell short against LSU last week when Devon Bell‘s 52-yard field goal sailed right in a 21-19 loss.
The Bulldogs get a break from conference play this week hosting Northwestern State at 3 p.m. today on the SEC Network but will need to focus in to avoid falling into the same trap as Arkansas and Auburn did last weekend.
“We have to get ready,” said MSU coach Dan Mullen. “We have a tough game this week for us with Northwestern State. We saw last week how challenging it is if you don’t come out and you’re not prepared to play your best game. You’re in a battle. It will be a good challenge to our team this week.”
The Demons enter today’s game winless at 0-2 falling 34-20 to Southeastern Louisiana and 44-17 at Louisiana-Lafayette. Their opponents have had success on the ground against them rushing for an average of 399 yards a game.
It will be a welcomed sign for MSU, who was limited to just 43 rushing yards last week against the Tigers.
“I just want to score points and move the ball,” Mullen said. “I’m good doing either (rushing or passing). They’ve given up some big chunk plays in the first two weeks so it’s not just like you can run the ball at will on them.”
Dak Prescott is the only Bulldog to reach the end zone on the ground with a pair of touchdowns in the first two weeks. The tailback tandem of Ashton Shumpert and Brandon Holloway have combined to average 78 yards per game.
Mullen is hopeful to get redshirt freshmen Aeris Williams and Dontavian Lee involved in the backfield more this week as well as quarterbacks Nick Fitzgerald and Elijah Staley.
“They are a play away from getting on the field right now,” Mullen said. “We’d love to get them more reps than we have. We haven’t force fed them on the field.”
Fitzgerald played the final five snaps in the opener against Southern Miss, carrying twice for 36 yards. Williams has two carries for minus-three yards while Lee has rushed once for six yards and caught a 4-yard pass.
Today will mark just the third meeting between the two schools on the gridiron and first since 1946. Mississippi State won both of the previous meetings by a combined score of 81-0.