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, freshman and coach of the week were from the South Carolina game.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald
Sophomore *6-5 * 230 * Richmond Hill, Ga.
Passing: 19 of 29, 178 yards, two touchdowns, one interception Rushing: 17 carries, 195 yards
Logan’s take: I’d felt that Fitzgerald was the heir apparent to Dak Prescott entering this season but after Week 1 I wasn’t so certain anymore. However, Fitzgerald cemented the starting job with his performance against South Carolina. Not only did he play the entire game behind center but he broke a school single-game rushing record for quarterbacks that had stood since before I was born.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Defensive end A.J. Jefferson
Senior * 6-3 * 280* Summit, Miss.
Defense: five tackles (one solo, four assists), two tackles for loss, one sack, one quarterback hurry
Logan’s take: It was tough choosing between A.J. Jefferson and Johnathan Calvin because both played a heck of a ballgame defensively. I decided to go with Jefferson because he has played so strong in both games already this year and would’ve been my defensive player of the week last week had the Bulldogs won. Jefferson has been a terror to opposing quarterbacks the last two games and given State a legit pass rusher off the edge.
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Star J.T. Gray
Junior * 6-0 * 197 * Clarksdale, Miss.
Defense: eight tackles (three solo, five assists)
Logan’s take: Gray made his share of plays while starting at star on defense against the Gamecocks but it was his big hit on special teams that got my attention. Gray shot through unblocked on a fourth quarter kickoff and absolutely obliterated A.J. Turner at the South Carolina 16-yard line. It was one of two tackles he would have on kickoff last Saturday.
FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
Defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons
True freshman * 6-4 * 310 * Macon, Miss.
Defense: four tackles (two solo, two assists), 1.5 tackles for loss, one forced fumble, one quarterback hurry
Logan’s take: Having watched Simmons play in person in high school I knew he would make an immediate impact for the Bulldogs. I’d be lying if I said I expected that impact to occur as quickly as it did. He made a tackle for loss on his first series and forced a fumble on his second. South Carolina attempted to double team Simmons but he simply busted right through them.
COACH OF THE WEEK
Logan’s take: Baker has brought his NFL pedigree and pass along that knowledge to MSU’s players. The Bulldogs’ defensive line has been absolutely dominant during the first two games helping generate 22 tackles for loss and eight sacks so far. The scary thing is they should only get better as the younger players progress and the unit gets even more familiar with the new scheme.