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October 21, 2012

Raiders dogged in Starkville

A week after seeing their team beat FIU in thrilling fashion, the Blue Raider fan base began wondering if MT could catch lightning in a bottle twice this season and land a monumental upset over Mississippi State.

Although the No. 12 ranked Bulldogs would be a much taller challenge for the Blue Raiders, some people could not help but think that a win was possible - especially with Georgia Tech still fresh on the minds of many.

At first it looked like an upset would be possible, but the game quickly turned ugly. In a tale of two halves, the Blue Raiders were completely outmatched in the latter, resulting in a 45-3 shellacking.

In the first half, the Bulldogs put 10 points on the board and completely dominated the time of possession, but they could not break away as the Blue Raider defense bent, but did not break. MT added a field goal of their own and at halftime MT trailed 10-3, but the momentum had swung in MT's direction and some Bulldogs fans were worried that an upset was brewing was in Davis Wade Stadium.

However, once the second half started, Mississippi State clicked on offense and the blow out that everyone expected happened. RB LaDarius Perkins rushed for a 64-yard touchdown that provided the spark the Bulldog's offense needed to get things rolling. After that play the Blue Raiders couldn't stop anything the Mississippi State offense did in the game.

The Bulldogs would go on to score five unanswered touchdowns while the Blue Raiders failed to put another point on the board the rest of the game. MSU would go on to win the game 45-3 and MT left Starkville battered.

Despite the fact that most Blue Raider fans did not expect to win the game, the loss still hurts. On the season, MT falls to 4-3 (2-1 SBC). The Blue Raiders will have to get over this loss quickly though because they play a tough North Texas team next week at home.

After Lance Dunbar ran all over MT last season, the Blue Raiders will be looking to exact revenge upon the Mean Green in a crucial SBC showdown.

THE GAME BREAKDOWN

As the score dictates, the Blue Raider offense did not do much. This was the first game for MT since they lost RB Benny Cunningham for the season and it was easy to see the impact his loss had on the field. The Blue Raiders used five different running backs in the game and only had 131 rushing yards on a combined 41 carries.

Granted MT was playing a tough SEC defense, but they will need better production than that to keep the ship heading in the right direction. Adding to the running troubles the Blue Raiders were having in the game was that they turned the ball over three times. This gave MSU good field position and put the defense against the wall.

The MT defense held their own for a half against the Bulldogs, but things got away from them in the second half as the field position MSU consistently got was too much to overcome. A recurring theme that has hindered this unit all season has been the inability to get opposing offenses off of the field on third. This was no different Saturday against the Bulldogs.

Although this loss is not surprising, the Bulldogs embarrassed MT. Consistency has been another problem for this team and even though MT was competitive in the first half, they could not keep it going and never showed up in the second half.

THE STAT SHEET

The stat sheet shows just how much the Blue Raiders struggled against MSU. MT had 19 first downs in the game and gained a total of 305 yards. As mentioned earlier, 131 came on the ground while the remaining 174 yards came through the air. MT turned the ball over three times and held the ball 30:07 of the game - a misleading number due to the quick scores that MSU put together in the second half.

The Blue Raiders passing leader was QB Logan Kilgore. He completed 16 of 25 passes for 159 yards with one interception. Despite the lack of production, Kilgore did move into seventh place on the all-time passing yardage list in school history.

The rushing leader for MT was freshman Jordan Parker. Parker had 13 carries for 66 yards and his longest carry was 16 yards. Reggie Whatley also produced 48 yards on just six carries for the Blue Raiders.

On the flipside of things, Mississippi State's stat sheet shows how they exploded in the game. The Bulldogs had 22 first downs and 446 total yards. MSU gained a total of 231 yards on the ground and the remaining 215 yards came through the air. Mississippi State turned the ball over once and held the ball for 29:53 in the game.

The Bulldogs passing leader was QB Tyler Russell, who completed 17 of 21 pass attempts for 191 yards and three touchdowns. The rushing leader for the Bulldogs was LeDarius Perkins. Perkins had 20 carries for 125 yards with one touchdown and his longest carry was 64 yards.



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