After a tough loss against the University of Georgia last week, Mississippi State University bounced back with a 56-7 rout against East Tennessee State University Saturday in Starkville.
With the ever-so important Egg Bowl against the University of Mississippi looming, the Bulldogs looked to find their rhythm in the last game at Davis Wade Stadium this season.
Junior wideout Tulu Griffin continued to have an impact on the MSU offense and special teams. Griffin displayed his explosiveness as a kick-returner by taking the opening kickoff from the Buccaneers 52-yards. MSU quarterback Will Rogers connected with Griffin for two touchdowns in the win over ETSU.
Defensively, cornerback Emmanuel Forbes Jr. continued to dominate on defense. Forbes had a record-breaking game in which he earned his sixth career interception returned for a touchdown. With the pick-six, Forbes broke the SEC career-record that has been untouched since 1971.
After the big win over ETSU, Forbes described what it meant to him to break the impressive conference record.
“It means a lot for me to have my name in the record book,” Forbes said. “It’s something that I’ve always looked forward to. I have certain goals, and I was able to accomplish one of them today.”
Speaking of standout performances, Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense played well against the Buccaneers. Rogers made his way to the 300 club again by going 30/37 and throwing for five touchdowns. However, there is always room for improvement for Rogers.
In the postgame presser, Rogers discussed to the media what he continues to work on to improve his play on the gridiron.
“Everything is just timing,” Rogers said. “So, like, for a certain play, I'm going to cut my footwork down a little bit on this play so I can get the ball out quicker versus another player where it is full, our progression working all the way through the read.”
Halfway through the fourth quarter, coach Leach decided it was best to give his younger guys the chance to put up numbers and let his veterans rest for a much-awaited matchup against Ole Miss on Thanksgiving Day.
Coach Leach spoke to the media after the big win about giving some of his younger talent time on the field late in the game.
“It’s a big deal, and certainly, there’s a lot of people down the road that may not realize it yet that they are definitely going to be benefactors of those guys,” Leach said.
Aside from the offense being in total control, the defense played a big part in the win by leaving the Buccaneers scoreless for three full quarters. Turnovers for the Buccaneers turned into points for the Bulldogs as they racked up 21 points in a total of three takeaways. ETSU had opportunities to put points on the board, but overall, the defense led them to just seven.
With the last home game of the season over, MSU is set to hit the road for the Battle for the Golden Egg against Lane Kiffin’s Ole Miss Rebels. The Egg Bowl is set to kickoff at 6:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving Thursday and will be broadcast live on ESPN.