2012 Mississippi State Bulldogs Football Preview
2011 Record: 7-6 (2-6 SEC)
Head Coach: Dan Mullen, fourth season (21-17 all at Mississippi State)
Projected Returning Starters: 13
Spring Game: April 21st (Maroon 33 White 22)
Notes: Mississippi State hasn’t lost a non-conference game since October 10, 2009, a 31-24 home loss to Houston; they have won 11 straight non-conference games since then. In fact, the Bulldogs are 12-2 in non-conference games under Mullen. The problem is, Mississippi State has only finished above rival Ole Miss in two of Mullen’s three seasons (finishes in last in the West Division in his first year). Getting above fifth place may be tough again this year, with the Bulldogs having to face perennial contenders Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, and LSU yet again. Mullen is 0-12 against those teams, with an average defeat by 16.2 points per game.
BVTSB Take: The recipe for the post-season will likely need to take the form of four non-conference wins and at least a couple conference wins. While technically not a starter last season, quarterback Tyler Russell returns this season. Russell saw significant time in games against UAB, South Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee-Martin, Alabama, and Arkansas (3-3). He threw for 1034 yards, 8 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions. All in all, the quarterback play from Mississippi State was not great in 2011, they need to cut down on the turnovers. The biggest lost for the Bulldogs was running back Vick Ballard, who was drafted by the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts. Ballard had nearly 37% of all Bulldog rushing attempts. Expect LaDarius Perkins to start, but the rushing numbers should be a bit down as a team. 60% of the team’s plays, offensively, were runs. Expect more passing this season, especially with a veteran receiving corps, comprised of Arceto Clark and Chad Bumphis, who combined for 55 catches, 781 yards, and 7 touchdowns (198 catches, 2364 yards, and 19 touchdowns as a team). Mississippi State is the youngest team, in terms of returning starters, of all SEC teams. The offense only returns five starters, with two of them being on the line. The defense is a bit more experienced, but they lose DT Fletcher Cox – true freshman Quay Evans is expected to start in his place. Mississippi State faces Jackson State, Troy, South Alabama, and Middle Tennessee in non-conference, which should be four wins. They have a great chance of picking up road wins against Kentucky and Ole Miss, but also play Alabama and LSU on the road. Home games against Auburn, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Arkansas are additional chances for wins. Mississippi State will finish ahead of Ole Miss again, and they have a great shot to finish ahead of Texas A&M.
2012 Early Projection: 6-6
To see the 2012 SEC composite schedule, click here.
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