Preview: Mississippi State vs. Arkansas

Quarterback Ty Storey (left) gives the ball to running back Rakeem Boyd during Arkansas’ game against LSU on Nov. 10.

 

Now that the Arkansas Razorbacks (2-8, 0-6) are finished with home games in Fayetteville, they will finish out the season with two road tests. The Hogs will begin with a trip to Starkville to take on the No. 21 Mississippi State Bulldogs (6-4, 2-4).

Mississippi State is coming off a 24-0 shutout loss to No. 1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa. The Bulldogs were held to a season-low 44 rushing yards and 125 passing yards.

The Bulldogs’ offense is ranked No. 78 in the country. One of their most prominent players is senior quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, who is the definition of a dual-threat player. In his 111 completions, Fitzgerald has thrown for 1,377 yards and 10 touchdowns and is averaging 153 yards a game in the air. Moreover, Fitzgerald has 816 yards on the ground and another nine touchdowns while averaging 91 rushing yards per game, a wild number for a quarterback.

Fitzgerald isn’t the only dual-threat player for the Bulldogs. Sophomore running back Kylin Hill can run as well as he receives. Hill has rushed for 583 yards and three touchdowns plus 152 yards on 17 receptions and three more touchdowns in the air.

In addition to Hill, Fitzgerald has two more reliable targets: sophomore receiver Osirus Mitchell and junior receiver Stephen Guidry. Both players have over 300 yards and averages over 10 yards per reception, as well as three touchdowns each.

The offense isn’t the best part of MSU, however. Its defense is No. 7 in the country and ranked first in the SEC. The Mississippi State defense has made 73 tackles for losses totaling to 300 yards, 27 sacks for 208 yards and nine interceptions. Senior defensive end Montez Sweat leads with 12 tackles for loss and 10 sacks.

Junior quarterback Ty Storey will lead the Hogs into Starkville for his seventh start of the year. Storey has thrown for 1,423 yards on 123 completions and 11 touchdowns, two of which came from last week’s senior night against LSU. His 200 yards last week was the fourth time this season that Storey reached that mark.

Sophomore running back Rakeem Boyd leads the team with 645 yards and two touchdowns. Junior tight end Cheyenne O’Grady made both touchdowns against LSU last week. His performance made him the first Razorback this season to have two separate games with two touchdowns.

Junior linebacker De’Jon Harris recorded 12 tackles against the Tigers, putting him at 195 tackles this season, the most in the SEC. Junior defensive end McTelvin Agim leads Arkansas with 10 tackles for losses, while senior defensive linemen Armon Watts boasts seven sacks for 50 yards

Last year, the Bulldogs squeaked out a 28-21 win in Fayetteville and had 348 yards of total offense.

The Razorbacks and the Bulldogs will kickoff in Starkville at 11 a.m. Saturday. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.

 

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