#30 Mississippi State Football 2015 Preview

Mississippi State Bulldogs

Overall Rank: #30
#9 SEC

Mississippi State Team Page#30 Mississippi State Football 2015 PreviewBuy Mississippi State Football Tickets

Mississippi State had a magical 2014 season. They started 9-0 before falling to Alabama in what was basically the game that decided the SEC West. The Bulldogs ended the regular season with a loss at Ole Miss and then went on to lose to Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl. The magical season ended with more of a thud than anything else and that could be a bad sign for the Bulldogs. There is a lot of talent to replace on both sides of the ball.

2014 Record: 10-3, 6-2
2014 Bowl: Orange Bowl vs. Georgia Tech (L 34-49)
Coach: Dan Mullen (46-31 at Mississippi State, 46-31 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Billy Gonzales, John Hevesy
Defensive Coordinator: Manny Diaz

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Brandon Holloway, RB, 294 yards
Passing: Dak Prescott, QB, 3,449 yards
Receiving: De’Runnya Wilson, WR, 680 yards
Tackles: Beniquez Brown, LB, 62
Sacks: Ryan Brown, DE, 3.5
Interceptions: Will Redmond, CB, 3; Richie Brown, LB, 3

Other Key Returnees: RB Ashton Shumpert, WR Fred Ross, CB Taveze Calhoun, DE A.J. Jefferson

Key Losses: RB Josh Robinson, WR Malcolm Johnson, WR Jameon Lewis, OL Ben Beckwith, OL Blaine Clausell, LB Benardrick McKinney, LB Christian Holmes, LB Matthew Wells, DE Preston Smith, K Evan Sobiesk

The offense will remain competitive with the return of Dak Prescott. The senior quarterback flirted with going to the NFL early. Last year he threw for 3,449 yards and added 986 more on the ground. He threw 27 passes and rushed for 14 more. As impressive as those numbers are, especially considering nobody at Mississippi State has ever accounted for more than 3,000 yards in a season, the Bulldogs will ask Prescott to do even more in 2015. De’Runnya Wilson and Fred Ross will again be Prescott’s top targets. Wilson caught 47 passes for 680 yards and nine touchdowns, while Ross added 30 catches for 489 yards and five touchdowns. The ground attack lost leading rusher Josh Robinson and his 1,203 yards and 11 touchdowns. Ashton Shumpert and Brandon Holloway figured to lead the way.

The skill players on offense are very good, but the loss of three starters on the offensive line is a major concern. Prescott and company had a lot of time to operate in 2014 and that was a huge reason for the offensive success for the Bulldogs. Losing defensive end Preston Smith is a big blow. Ryan Brown will have to turn into a consistent pass rush. He is the only returning starter in the front four, but Chris Jones has plenty of experience at one of the tackle spots. There are high hopes for redshirt freshman linebacker Gerri Green. However, he must replace Benadrick McKinney and that is asking a lot of a freshman. Beniquez Brown will be the new leader of the linebackers after tallying 62 tackles in 2014. Cornerback Taveze Calhoun is the only returning starter in a secondary that ranked dead last in the SEC in passing defense.

The Bottom Line:
This will be an interesting year for Mississippi State. The defense will not likely be any better than last season and the offense could take a pretty big step back. The schedule starts off tough with conference games against LSU, Auburn and Texas A&M in the first five weeks of the season. With a pleasant surprise or two on the offensive line, this team could reach eight or nine wins, but getting back to ten wins and competing for an SEC West title is asking too much.

Projected Bowl: Liberty Bowl

2014 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 233.1 (21st in nation, 3rd in conference)
Passing Offense: 280.7 (22, 3)
Total Offense: 424.4 (84, 12)
Scoring Offense: 36.9 (16, 3)
Rushing Defense: 151.5 (44, 6)
Pass Defense: 272.8 (114, 14)
Total Defense: 424.4 (84, 12)
Scoring Defense: 21.7 (23, 8)
Turnover Margin: 0.00 (59, 10)
Sacks: 2.85 (17, 2)
Sacks Allowed: 1.77 (42, 8)

Madness 2016 NFL Draft Rankings:
#16 Chris Jones
#41 Will Redmond
#87 De'Runnya Wilson
#102 Dak Prescott

Madness 2015 Recruit Rankings:
#53 Jamal Peters
#69 Leo Lewis
#109 Nick Gibson


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