Dan Mullen is entering his fourth season at the helm at Mississippi State. The Bulldogs have amassed 16 wins over the past two seasons and Mullen is confident that his team can continue to climb the ranks in the SEC West. The Dogs have definitely made steady process under his watch, but making that jump to the top of the division is going to be difficult. Mississippi State's defense has certainly been the teams strong suit for several seasons and they will return seven starters in 2012. All-SEC defensive tackle Fletcher Cox has been lost to he NFL but it will be on defense where the Bulldogs will have to win games.On offense, the Dogs will look to incumbent Tyler Russell, a fourth-year junior. He has shared time in the past but it is now his opportunity to be "the guy." After losing 1,000 yard rusher Vick Ballard to graduation, it seems that the team will focus more on their passing attack in 2012. Veteran receivers Bumphis, Heavens, Smith and Clark all figure to be important components of the passing attack and provide experience and leadership. Junior running back LaDarius Perkins will go from complimentary back to the main focus on the ground. Sophomore Nick Griffin also looks the part of an SEC running back, and he figures to get vital snaps as well.
As stated previously, the Bulldogs will have to earn their stripes on defense. Gone is Fletcher Cox, but look for Josh Boyd to anchor the defensive line. Kaleb Eulls and Denico Autry will be counted on to play well on the interior of that line. Strong side linebacker Deontae Skinner has all the skills needed to be All-SEC, and his leadership is invaluable.
This Mississippi State team can be good. Just how good can they be is the question on people's minds down in Starkville. Building on the foundations already laid will be key. An improved passing game complimented by a salty defense will put the Bulldogs back into a bowl game for a third straight season.
7-5, (3-5) 5th place SEC West
Music City Bowl
|Date||Opponent||Location||Time (CT) - Results||On the Air||Media|
|Sat, Sep 01||Jackson State||Starkville||
|Sat, Sep 08||Auburn *||Starkville||
|Sat, Sep 15||Troy||Troy, AL||
|Sat, Sep 22||South Alabama||Starkville||
|Sat, Oct 06||Kentucky *||Lexington, KY||
|Sat, Oct 13||Tennessee *||Starkville||
|Sat, Oct 20||Middle Tennessee [HC]||Starkville||
|Sat, Oct 27||Alabama *||Tuscaloosa, AL||
|Sat, Nov 03||Texas A&M *||Starkville||
|Sat, Nov 10||LSU *||Baton Rouge, LA||
|Sat, Nov 17||Arkansas *||Starkville||
|Sat, Nov 24||Ole Miss *||Oxford, MS|