Bulldogs Host Tennessee State For First Meeting
Published 2:31 pm Monday, November 22, 2021
STARKVILLE – Following a pair of road games, Mississippi State is back at home. The Bulldogs host Tennessee State on Saturday with kickoff set for 11 a.m. CT at Davis Wade Stadium. The game can be viewed online via SEC Network+ and ESPN+.
This weekend is MSU’s annual military appreciation game, which will be reflected in pregame festivities. In addition to the playing of the National Anthem, fans will be asked to join in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Following the anthem Blackhawk helicopters will fly over Davis Wade. The Famous Maroon Band’s halftime performance will feature a patriotic setlist.
For those attending, stadium gates open at 8:45 a.m. Mobile tickets should be downloaded prior to arriving at the stadium. Fans can also listen for free on HailState.com/plus. Full gameday information can be found at HailState.com/Gameday.
State’s Storylines vs. Tennessee State
- Mississippi State is now bowl eligible, extending its streak of bowl game appearances to 12 years. MSU is one of four SEC programs to make a bowl trip in each of the last dozen years, joining Alabama, Georgia and Texas A&M.
- Mike Leach has now reached 18 bowl games in 20 years as a head coach and has made the postseason in each of the last seven years including 2021.
- With a victory, MSU will reach seven wins for the first time since the 2018 season when the Bulldogs went 8-5 on the field.
- State is one of six teams in the nation with at least three wins over AP-ranked teams this year and one of six with two victories over teams currently ranked in the AP Top 25.
- MSU has two wins over teams ranked in the CFP Top 25 and is one of eight teams nationally with multiple such wins.
- QB Will Rogers leads the Power Five in passing yardage (3,722), which also leads the SEC and ranks second in the FBS.
- Rogers has thrown for at least 300 yards in eight straight games, which is the nation’s longest active streak, while averaging 382.3 yards in that span and completing 75.8 percent of his passes (335-of-442) with 24 touchdowns.
- There have been 14 games of 400-plus passing yards in MSU history. Seven of those performances have occurred under Leach (21 games).
- In the second year of the Air Raid, MSU has improved its completion percentage by eight and a half points, thrown 13 additional touchdowns and is averaging nearly 84 additional yards per game from 2020.
- Leach now has five career AP-ranked victories at MSU, which ranks fourth among all Bulldog head coaches. He needed just 21 games to reach five ranked wins, making him the fastest MSU coach to do so.
- The Bulldogs have played the nation’s No. 14 strength of schedule according to ESPN’s FPI. MSU is ranked No. 23 in the FPI and is among the top 25 in both offensive and defensive efficiency.
- Only seven teams in the nation are among the Top 25 in both offensive and defensive efficiency, and five of those are ranked in the CFP and AP polls.
- State has completed passes to 10 or more receivers in five games this year. Nine different players have caught a touchdown.
- MSU has broken the school record with 412 completions this season, surpassing last year’s 373.
- The Bulldogs have collected 30 passing touchdowns, which trails only the 2014 season (31) and the 2015 campaign (33).
- WR Makai Polk enters Saturday’s game against Tennessee State, needing nine catches to match Fred Ross’ school record of 88 receptions set in 2015.
- Polk (79), RB Jo’quavious Marks (71) and RB Dillon Johnson (51) have given State three 50-catch receivers in the same year for the first time in program history. MSU had just four prior seasons with two 50-catch players.
- Mississippi State is the only school in the nation with multiple players who have made 60-plus receptions this season and one of 10 with multiple 50-catch receivers.
- The Bulldogs have multiple 500-yard receivers for just the seventh time on record since 1961. Polk already has 720 yards, while WR Jaden Walley has 523.
- Last week at No. 17 Auburn, RB Dillon Johnson rushed for a career-high 62 yards with just one yard lost on eight carries. He broke two runs of 20-plus yards, including a career-long 22-yarder, which stand asMSU’s longest runs of the season.
- Freshmen and sophomores have scored 30 of State’s 38 touchdowns. When including QB Will Rogers’ passing scores, underclassmen have been responsible for 59 touchdowns.
- The Bulldogs lead the nation in yards after catch in 2021 (2,022) and have the highest YAC/game total (202.2).
- MSU is third in the SEC and tied for 11th in the nation in rushing defense (102.5). MSU is one of just four SEC schools to allow fewer than 10 rushing touchdowns this season.
- The Bulldogs have collected at least one takeaway in 42 of their last 50 games with 81 takeaways over that stretch. State has forced three or more turnovers 11 times in that span.
- State has allowed just 158 first downs this year, which is second in the SEC and seventh in the nation. The Bulldogs’ 57 rushing first downs allowed are ninth in the FBS.