Season Report Card: Mississippi State Bulldogs
And two of the bigger opportunities were against arguably the two best teams in the SEC. Mississippi State had Auburn beat on the Plains early in the season until Nick Marshall hit C.J. Uzomah for a touchdown with 10 seconds remaining in the game. The Bulldogs also only trailed Alabama by a field goal in the third quarter, but couldn't find ways to put points on the board.
So, a play here or there, and Dan Mullen's team could have altered history in the case of Auburn's run to a national title game appearance.
But with that aside, let's grade the Bulldogs on their 7-6 campaign:
Mississippi State didn't quite have that extra gear that it needed to score points in a hurry. Teams like Auburn and Texas A&M were able to do that, but the Bulldogs often struggled to score. They only managed to eclipse the 30-point mark once in SEC play, as again, it was often a challenge to keep pace with teams that were able to put the ball in the end zone quickly.
The defense kept Mississippi State in the game more often than not. It defended the pass well, and really only had two games (LSU and Texas A&M) where it simply couldn't find a way to stop the opposing offense. Allowing only 23 points per game isn't too shabby in the age of high-powered offenses.
Again, the Bulldogs were only blown out a few times on the year. Mullen and his staff seemed to always prepare well, which is why they had chances to win in games against more talented teams. Very few games this team played in were pretty to watch, but a win is a win. Ending the season on a three-game winning streak was a nice momentum builder heading into next season.
A 7-6 season is a little above average, but expectations weren't all that high to begin with in Starkville. Holding on to beat Auburn in week three may have changed the course of the season for this team, however, we'll never know. Mullen was continue to fight an uphill battle in the SEC West, and only time will tell if Mississippi State is able to overtake some of the traditional powers in that division.
What are your thoughts on Mississippi State's season? Let us know by commenting below! For more college football talk, follow @FanIQ or myself on Twitter!