Mississippi State And QB Will Rogers Miss Mike Leach And Air Raid Offense – Bulldogs Fall 41-14 To LSU

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Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers threw for more than 300 yards 18 times in his career coming into his senior season this year.

Rogers threw for career lows in yardage with 103 and in completions with 11 through 35 starts in his career as the Bulldogs lost 41-14 to No. 14 LSU on Saturday in Starkville, Mississippi. He finished

Last week, Rogers attempted the fewest passes of his career with 17, completing 13 in Mississippi State’s 31-24 overtime win over Arizona. He threw 28 on this day, but he was often off the mark.

Will Rogers Not Faring Well In New Mississippi State Offense

The senior entered the season as the Southeastern Conference career record holder with 1,192 completions and the only SEC quarterback in history with 1,000 completions. He holds the SEC season record for completions with 505 in 2021. His 4,379 passing yards in 2021 is the third most in league history.

All those numbers, though, came under his former coach, Mike Leach, who passed away last December. Defensive coordinator Zach Arnett replaced him and ditched the vastly successful Air Raid offense under Rogers to a ground attack.

“We want Mike,” State fans chanted as the game wore on before most of them left Davis Wade Stadium. But they were yelling about backup quarterback Mike Wright, a transfer from Vanderbilt.

“We’re not spending our time paying attention to that,” Arnett said. “He (Rogers) missed some throws that he needs to be able to complete if they’re there.”

Arnett does have many other issues on which to focus. The Bulldogs rushed for only 94 yards on 21 carries.

“I’ve done a very poor job of my evaluation of where we’re at as a football team,” Arnett said.

Perhaps Arnett should reevaluate why he has helped make one of the best quarterbacks in SEC history disappear.  

“Butt whooping,” Mississippi State senior linebacker Jett Johnson said. “It’s something we’re not going to get used to.”

That remains to be seen. The Bulldogs (2-1, 0-1 SEC) play at South Carolina (1-1) on Saturday (7:30 p.m., SEC Network). The Gamecocks led No. 1 Georgia, 14-3, at halftime Saturday.

Mississippi State Defense Struggles Vs. LSU Offense

Arnett’s defense did not fare well either. LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels put up Air Raid-like numbers. He completed 30 of 34 passes for 361 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for another 64 and two touchdowns on 15 carries. Daniels’ .882 completion percentage was the second best in LSU history on at least 20 attempts behind only .900 percentages by JaMarcus Russell against Mississippi State in 2006 and Matt Mauck against Louisiana Tech in 2003.

“Getting Jayden Daniels to throw the ball downfield was the big emphasis this year,” LSU coach Brian Kelly said. “And I thought he did a great job. It allows us to do so many other things – the run and medium passes are available.”

Wide receiver Malik Nabers grabbed 13 of those passes for a career-high 239 yards and two touchdowns.

LSU’s Brian Kelly Praises Team

LSU (2-1, 1-0 SEC) looked much improved from its 45-24 loss to Florida State on Sept. 3 that knocked the Tigers out of the No. 5 spot in the Associated Press poll. Kelly harshly criticized his team after that game.

“When you play on the road in the SEC, you have to come with a competitive edge that obviously we didn’t have in our opener,” Kelly said. “They learned that.”

LSU hosts Arkansas (2-0) on Saturday (7 p.m., ESPN). The Razorbacks were scheduled to host BYU (2-0) on Saturday (7:30 p.m., ESPN2).

Will Mississippi State Losses Like This Happen Again?

State, meanwhile, is heading in an opposite direction of LSU.

“We have to decide how we want to respond to this,” Arnett said. “You’ve got two ways you can respond to a like this. We’re either gonna do the hard things and get better, or we’re not and losing like this becomes commonplace.”

Written by Glenn Guilbeau

Guilbeau joined OutKick as an SEC columnist in September of 2021 after covering LSU and the Saints for 17 years at USA TODAY Louisiana. He has been a national columnist/feature writer since the summer of 2022, covering college football, basketball and baseball with some NFL, NBA, MLB, TV and Movies and general assignment, including hot dog taste tests.

A New Orleans native and Mizzou graduate, he has consistently won Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) and Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) awards since covering Alabama and Auburn at the Mobile Press-Register (1993-98) and LSU and the Saints at the Baton Rouge Advocate (1998-2004). In 2021, Guilbeau won an FWAA 1st for a game feature, placed in APSE Beat Writing, Breaking News and Explanatory, and won Beat Writer of the Year from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA). He won an FWAA columnist 1st in 2017 and was FWAA's top overall winner in 2016 with 1st in game story, 2nd in columns, and features honorable mention.

Guilbeau completed a book in 2022 about LSU's five-time national champion coach - "Everything Matters In Baseball: The Skip Bertman Story" - that is available at www.acadianhouse.com, Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble outlets. He lives in Baton Rouge with his wife, the former Michelle Millhollon of Thibodaux who previously covered politics for the Baton Rouge Advocate and is a communications director.

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