June 20, 2021

#43 Mississippi State Bulldogs

The reset button has been hit in Mississippi. New head coach, new quarterback, a new offensive game plan, a new defensive coordinator and a new defensive (3-3-5) scheme. This will have Mississippi back to being a .500 program with a promising future.

That’s right, Mike Leach and his Air Raid offense will give the Bulldogs a much needed face lift and spark. Leach will be adding his leadership and successful coaching method to the Bulldog program in hopes it is able to withstand that tough SEC West.

Mississippi State Bulldog 2020 schedule (projected 8-4, 4-4 SEC) – *BOLD is projected wins

Sept. 5 New Mexico

Sept. 12 at NC State

Sept. 19 Arkansas

Sept. 26 Tulane

Oct. 3 Texas A&M

Oct. 17 at Alabama

Oct. 24 at LSU

Oct. 31 Auburn

Nov. 7 Missouri

Nov. 14 at Kentucky

Nov. 21 Alabama A&M

Nov. 26 at Ole Miss

Offense

The new look offense will be led by Stanford graduate K.J. Costello. Costello has a career 62.6 percent completion percentage, has thrown for 6,151 yards and 49 TDs through the air. Costello only played five games in 2019 due to injury, so this season he will need to repeat his 2018 season (65.1% fro 3,540 yards and 29 TDs).

Photo Credit: Keith Warren

Kylin Hill will be returning to the backfield for the Bulldogs. Hill led the SEC in rushing in 2019, 242 carries for 1,350 yards and 11 TDs, and is looking to lead the SEC again in 2020 in this new heavy passing offense. With the threat of the Air Raid attack, Hill is hoping it keeps defenses honest and give him an open field to run all over.

This biggest question for this Bulldog offense and Air Raid attack, is the receiving group. The Bulldogs have not had 600-plus-yard receiver since 2016. Osirus Mitchell led the receivers last year with just 430 and six TDs. This will have to change dramatically if Leach and Costello will have success together.

The offensive line is very solid. They have four returning starters up front for the Bulldogs. They also have transfers Scott Lashley (Alabama) and Cole Smith (LSU) competing for a starting spot. The Bulldogs also added former five-star prospect Charles Cross, who is expected to step into the starting role at left tackle.

Defense

Zach Arnett and the Mississippi State Bulldogs will be bringing back the 3-3-5 scheme on defense. Taking at defense that was ranked in the top 15 nationally and looking to take it to the top. Arnett inherits a fully loaded and talented defense.

The Bulldogs will have their team captain back for them on the defense. MLB Erroll Thompson will bring his experience and leadership to help with the transition and to make this defense even better.

In the trenches, the Bulldogs have DT Nathan Pickering (ALL-SEC Freshman), DT Jaden Crumedy and veteran DEs Kobe Jones and Marquis Spencer to give them as solid front as any program in the SEC.

Special Teams

K Jace Christmann (8 of 10 FGs) will be back to take care of those duties agian this year. P Tucker Day (42.6 avg) will also be back, giving the Bulldogs confidence in this area of the game.

Final Thoughts

The Bulldogs have made a lot of changes in the offseason. They look really good, but a tough mid-season schedule will test these changes. The four-game stretch of…Texas A&M, at Alabama, at LSU and Auburn will be the measuring stick to whether these changes are enough or more are needed.