Mississippi State
Nov 11, 2023; College Station, Texas, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Zach Arnett reacts during the third quarter against the Texas A&M Aggies at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Mississippi State Begins Life After Arnett with Game Against Southern Miss

The Mississippi State Bulldogs host the Southern Miss Golden Eagles Saturday at noon. What looked like an irrelevant matchup at first got a wrench thrown in it earlier this week when the Bulldogs made a big announcement.

A Look at Mississippi State

The Bulldogs have not had a good season thus far. Administration seemingly agreed with that, as they fired head coach Zach Arnett November 13, just five days before the game. The team went 4-6 this season under Arnett’s watch, with three straight embarrassments in the last three weeks.

Sitting at 4-3, the Bulldogs headed to Auburn to try and build positive momentum toward the end of the season. They left with a 27-13 loss, and a bleak future ahead. Their next game was a 24-3 loss to Kentucky. Then came the final nail in Arnett’s coffin, a 51-10 beatdown at the hands of Texas A&M.

With two games to go, unless they qualify for a bowl game, interim head coach Greg Knox will try to give the team some sort of identity.

He’ll look to get something out of the quarterback play, as it’s been a bit turbulent since starter Will Rogers went down with an injury. The past few weeks have seen quarterbacks Mike Wright and Chris Parson both take the field at times to try and provide adequate play. Against Texas A&M, that was nowhere to be found, as Parson threw three interceptions.

The run game hasn’t been inspiring either, with no big contributions in recent weeks.

If Knox can’t find a way to lead the Bulldogs to a win Saturday, Starkville will embody gloom.

Golden (Predator) Eagle

Saturday is an opportunity for Southern Miss. A chance at an SEC program going through some turbulence. The Golden Eagles’ season started off strong with a 40-14 win over Alcorn State. The next seven games went the complete opposite way. Sitting at 1-7, Southern Miss was floundering. Head coach Will Hall and his team, however, didn’t quit.

They won their last two games leading into Mississippi State, building some positive momentum. Their last game, against Louisiana-Lafayette, was a nail-biting overtime win. Similar to Mississippi State, the Golden Eagles have been playing two quarterbacks. Unlike the Bulldogs quarterbacks, Billy Wiles and Ethan Crawford both threw a touchdown in the win.

The team will also look for a contribution from running back Frank Gore Jr., son of longtime NFL player Frank Gore. Against Louisiana-Lafayette, Gore Jr. ran for 158 yards and two touchdowns. He added another score through the air.

Hall will look to ride his star on the way to a huge upset and the fourth win of the season.

The game will feature two programs at two different levels. A loss for Mississippi State would be a total disaster. A win for Southern Miss would be an incredible feat. Both, though their seasons seem hopeless, have something to play for.

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