Mississippi State, QB Will Rogers heating up, hit road for Arkansas

Field Level Media

November 02, 2021 at 2:05 pm.

Mississippi State appears to be hitting its stride with wins in three of its last four outings heading into a Southeastern Conference matchup at Arkansas.

The Bulldogs’ (5-3, 3-2 Southeastern Conference) hot streak includes wins in their last two (Vanderbilt, Kentucky) games and a victory at No. 13 Texas A&M. The only loss in the stretch was a 49-9 defeat to Alabama.

Arkansas dives back into conference play in Fayetteville coming off a rout of an overmatched FCS foe and an open date.

The Razorbacks (5-3, 1-3) also have a win over Texas A&M, but are 1-3 since then. The only win was a 45-3 over Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

Arkansas coach Sam Pittman said a November schedule that also features trips to LSU and Alabama and a home finale against Missouri is bigger than usual because of the way the Hogs started the season.

“You don’t want to be 4-and-0 and ranked 8th in the country and have all that to slide away from you,” he said. “And I don’t think it will.”

The Bulldogs are coming off an impressive 31-17 thumping of then-No. 12 Kentucky as quarterback Will Rogers set an SEC single-game record for completion percentage (36 of 39, 92.3 percent). He has a 75.2 completion percentage for the season and has passed for 2,890 yards, third in the FBS.

The Bulldogs managed only 94 yards against the Wildcats on 35 rushes, the most runs they have had under coach Mike Leach. Last year K.J. Costello (43 of 59) passed for 313 yards against Arkansas, but the Bulldogs lost 21-14.

“Somebody’s always bitching about something. They either want you to run it more or throw it more,” Leach said. “I’ve actually thought about running it virtually 100 percent of the time one game, throwing it 100 percent the next game — with my luck some punter would drop the damn ball and then it would count as a rush — and then brag about how balanced we are.”