By Logan Lowery
STARKVILLE – Although Dan Mullen has not been an offensive coordinator since helping Florida to a national championship in 2008, he still considers himself to be an “offensive-oriented coach.”
That could explain why Saturday’s 21-3 loss to Oklahoma State to start the season was so disappointing for Mississippi State’s fifth-year head coach.
The Bulldogs were only 2-of-16 on third down conversions and failed to reach the end zone for only the third time under Mullen. State’s offense also had four three-and-out drives.
“I’m disappointed,” Mullen said. “Finishing is going to be a real big thing for us.”
MSU’s defense held the Cowboys up-tempo offense in check with just 162 yards in the first half. The Bulldogs controlled the ball and the clock but still found themselves down 7-3 at halftime converting only one third down situation and also tossing an interception.
“We had some great production, made some great plays and a bunch of big plays during the course of the game,” Mullen said. “But not only did we not finish the game offensively but we hit that slump. When we were doing well, we didn’t finish.”
Making matters worse, senior quarterback Tyler Russell went down with a concussion midway through the third quarter and did not return. Sophomore Dak Prescott went the rest of the way.
The Bulldogs finished the game with 333 yards offense. Mullen said he hopes that he and offensive coordinator Les Koenning can open things up when opportunities arise.
“Looking back on it, I do think there were some times during the game where we probably could have taken some more shots down the field,” Mullen said. “We had some one-on-one matchups and didn’t take as many shots as we needed to.”