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Oklahoma State 21, Mississippi State 3: A Dismal Loss Raises Questions About the Bulldogs

All is not lost for the Bulldogs right now. But what exactly is left to be won?

Bob Levey

You might be able to divine some good things for Mississippi State from today's game in Houston. Holding Oklahoma State to 432 yards isn't all that bad, when you consider that it would have ranked as the best defensive performance against the Cowboys last year. And limiting Oklahoma State to seven points in the first half and 21 overall is also somewhat impressive.

But that's about where the good news ends for the Bulldogs. They produced 333 yards on 70 plays, seeming to show that Dan Mullen still has a long way to go to get his offense to Florida-like levels. Which might be understandable, but Mullen is now in his fifth year in Starkville. If Dan Mullen's offense is every going to produce the numbers he put up at earlier stops, fans would be within their rights to ask when it's going to start.

And if all that wasn't enough, Tyler Russell appeared to be injured late in the beatdown. His backup, Dak Prescott, didn't exactly inspire much confidence, going 7-of-17 for 89 yards and an interception -- though, in fairness to Prescott, he probably wasn't expected to start and didn't do all that much worse than Russell.

Of course, the season isn't over. The team that played Saturday doesn't look like a threat to win the SEC Wet, but Mississippi State likely won't face another ranked team until they host LSU to begin October. And there are still enough winnable games to bring the fourth straight bowl game under Mullen. Compared to where the program was when Sylvester Croom left, that's a sizable improvement for the Bulldogs.

Then again, a coach should have his program running at nearly peak performance by his fifth season. So, if this is as good as things get under Dan Mullen, is that enough for Mississippi State's fans?