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 UMass game.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald
Sophomore *6-5 * 230 * Richmond Hill, Ga.
Passing: 26 of 39, 305 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions Rushing: 15 carries, 110 yards
Logan’s take: The offense seems to flow so much better when Fitzgerald establishes himself as a threat to run the ball. He is still evolving as a passer but has proven himself as a weapon running the ball for 305 yards in MSU’s two wins. Defenses have to respect that aspect of his game so it helps open things up in the passing game as well as for the rest of the running backs.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Cornerback Jamoral Graham
Junior * 5-10 * 183* Decatur, Miss.
Defense: three tackles (two solo, one assist), two pass deflections, one interception returned 38-yards for a touchdown
Logan’s take: Graham had been picked on by opposing quarterbacks during the first three games of the season. But he looked more like a shutdown corner against the Minutemen on Saturday. Graham broke up a would-be touchdown and his pick-six during the third quarter gave MSU the momentum it needed and proved to be the difference in the ballgame.
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Cornerback Chris Rayford
Sophomore * 6-0 * 199 * Byhalia, Miss.
Defense: one assisted tackle
Logan’s take: Rayford seems to have a knack for being in the right place at the right time to down Logan Cooke’s punts at the goal line so far this season. He has gotten downfield and been standing at the goal line to get his hands on the ball before it crosses the goal line at least four or five times already. During Saturday’s game, he stopped Cooke’s first punt at the 2-yard line to make UMass start their first drive of the game back up from that spot.
FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
Tight end Farrod Green
Redshirt freshman * 6-3 * 232 * Wesson, Miss.
Receiving: three catches for 38 yards, one touchdown
Logan’s take: Not only did Green get his first career catch on Saturday but was also able to score his first touchdown as well. He hauled in a 13-yard pass from Nick Fitzgerald to close out the third quarter and put the Bulldogs up by 13 points. State is young and inexperienced at tight end so to see guys making plays at that position is encouraging.
COACH OF THE WEEK
Logan’s take: Gonzales’ group enjoyed a strong day this past Saturday catching 21 passes for 266 yards and two touchdowns. Veterans Fred Ross and Donald Gray led the way with eight grabs each with Ross going for 126 yards and two scores and Gray finishing with 79 yards. With a young quarterback and tight ends and a backfield that is still seemingly searching for its identity, State needs for its receivers to step up and make plays when the ball is in the air and more often than not they have this season.