Smith: Bacon for breakfast: No. 23 MSU wipes floor with Razorbacks

While last weekend against Texas A&M University may have gotten off to a slow start, Mississippi State University football left it all on the field when face to face with the Razorbacks bright and early Saturday morning.

The Bulldogs ran off with an early 14-0 lead in the first quarter, after having possession of the ball for 10 of the 15 minutes and rushed for 59 out of their 173 total rush yards – the second most rushing yards in a single quarter and the most rushing yards in a game thus far. 

Junior running back Dillon Johnson became the first Bulldog to rush for 100 yards under head coach Mike Leach, putting his total rushing yards on the season over 400, and setting his new career high with 17 carries. Johnson was responsible for two of the six Bulldog touchdowns. 

Not far behind Johnson with an impressive rushing performance was junior running back Jo’quavious “Woody” Marks. Marks nearly matched Johnson’s rush attempts with 16, managed a total of 52 yards and tacked on a touchdown to top it all off. 

But even with the run game evolving into a secret weapon for the Bulldogs, this would not be a Leach offense without heavy use of the air raid. 

The final three touchdowns came from the fearless leader Will Rogers, who set the SEC pass completion in the final quarter with a total of 922 completions. Rogers went 31 out of 48 and threw for a total of 395 yards.

When asked about Rogers’ name being in the Heisman conversation, Leach has no doubt in his mind that his record-setting quarterback has earned the recognition.

“I’m extremely curious who somebody thinks is ahead of him ... and there's a lot of this going on nowadays: somebody just selects the biggest team that they can think of and the ones that they think might go to the playoffs or be good down the stretch, the ones who are closest to big media bases. And then, some of them will just randomly stick a guy on a list who hasn’t even done anything, and that happens all the time," said Leach.  

That kind of confidence from the coach might go to some athlete’s heads, but not Rogers. When asked how that confidence affects his play and mindset, Rogers said he’s focused on the team’s success over his own.

“I mean, it’s cool. It’s cool, I guess, to be talked about as one of the best players in the country, but I don’t think about it a lot,” Rogers said. “I think with team success, individual success will come, so just trying to win every week. I really don’t care about the Heisman.” 

The Bulldogs are now ranked No. 16 in the AP top 25 poll and will travel to Lexington, Kentucky, to face off against the No. 23 Kentucky Wildcats. For those unable to make the trip, the game will be broadcasted on SEC Network at 6:30 p.m. The Bulldogs are 7-3 against the Wildcats in the last 10 matchups and are looking for their second ranked win of the season. 

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