STARKVILLE, MS (WLOX) - Mississippi State (3-2, 1-2 SEC) cracked the Associated Press Top-25 football poll last week. The ranking lasted only one week after Texas A&M beat the Bulldogs 30-17 in College Station on Saturday.
Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott tried his best, but he can't do it alone. He completed 20-0f-34 passes for 210 yards and failed to throw a TD pass for the first time in two years. Prescott added 96 yards rushing and a touchdown.
The Bulldogs have failed to establish a take charge running back. Has a tailback jumped into the spotlight?
Coach Dan Mullen said, "I don't know if one has jumped out to me or if one has fallen behind. We're going to keep playing them. I like to play the young guys and keep giving them reps so the comfort level will increase moving forward. As a whole, we have to play more players. We're not rotating enough on offense or defense right now. We have to aware, as coaches, of the proper rep count for guys in games so they can perform at a maximum level."
Freshman running back Malik Dear ripped-off a 52year touchdown gallop giving Bulldogs fans some hope that he could emerge as the top dog. Mullen says Malik is getting in-shape.
"I think it helped a lot, especially in physical conditioning, "stated Mullen. "He came in a little heavy and started working to get himself in shape. Over the summer he started getting in shape. That opportunity was huge because you install an offense in the spring, and a lot of the new guys come in during the summer and are trying to pick up what they can. Malik, who already has an idea of what's going on in training camp, there's recollection (from what he learned in the spring). Anytime you graduate high school early, it puts you in a much better position to play as a freshman. I've seen him progress over the past couple of weeks. When you put the ball in his hands, good things usually happen. He's become more comfortable with blocking, running routes and catching balls. Coming in the spring really helped with his confidence on offense."
The Bulldogs host Troy Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. in Starkville and Mississippi State will be without defensive back Kendrick Market.
Mullen said, "Kendrick Market will be out for the year with a torn ACL, which is a big loss for us. Gabe Myles and Rufus Warren are both questionable, so we'll see how they feel. We rested a lot of those guys (on Sunday). Joe Morrow will be questionable this week, as well. Will (Redmond) didn't practice (on Sunday). We'll see Tuesday for those guys. The only significant injury was Kendrick. Our trainers felt pretty positive about everybody else. Gus Walley didn't play Saturday. He hurt his hand in practice earlier in the week. We held him out Saturday to see if he would have the opportunity to play this week."