Geoff Collins’ defense held Oklahoma State to 162 total yards in the first half and only 46 yards through the air. The Cowboys had six first downs but only seven points at halftime.
After losing seven wide receivers and a tight end from the 2012 roster, Mississippi State managed to complete passes to seven different receivers on Saturday including true freshmen De’Runnya Wilson and Fred Ross.
Twelve newcomers made their debuts including four true freshmen (Wilson, Ross, Chris Jones and Kivon Coman).
Despite numerous early opportunities to capitalize on momentum, MSU’s offense managed only three points. The Bulldogs controlled the time of possession keeping the ball over eight minutes longer than OSU but finished with 99 fewer yards.
Mississippi State was only 2-of-16 on third downs.
The Bulldogs hoped to apply more pressure this season but finished with no sacks.
Keys to victory
(Updating the game keys from last week’s GameDay preview)
1. Respect the run
Oklahoma State was known for its passing attack but proved its read option game is just as dangerous. Quarterback J.W. Walsh rushed for 125 yards and a touchdown while tailback Jeremy Smith finished with 102 yards and two scores.
2. Hold the middle
Bulldog quarterbacks were sacked three times Saturday while Oklahoma State finished with 10 tackles for loss on the day. Nine different Cowboys made stops behind the line of scrimmage.
3. Win field position
MSU’s Baker Swedenburg punted six times for a 45 yard average and helped give the Cowboys an average starting field position at their own 27-yard line. However, the Bulldogs began at their own 22-yard line on average including twice at the 16-yard line.
WR Jameon Lewis: The junior was Mississippi State’s leading receiver with five catches for 55 yards. Lewis also added 93 return yards including a 66-yard kickoff return following OSU’s lone first half score. He led the team with 148 all-purpose yards.
Mississippi State’s offense owes its defense an apology. The Bulldogs had a solid game plan on the defensive side of the ball in the first half and kept a quick-strike Oklahoma State offense on its heels. However, MSU’s offense failed to capitalize going 1-of-8 on third down in the first half and trailed 7-3.
The defense was simply too worn down in the second half and the Cowboys took advantage.