Mississippi State traveled up to Foxboro to take on the UMass Minutemen on Saturday and, well, for a minute, it looked like UMass was going to sneak up on them and snag an upset win over the Bulldogs. However, thanks in part to a 28-point third quarter, Mississippi State was able to come away with a 47-35 victory.
Here’s what we learned from this encounter:
1. Nick Fitzgerald can be dynamic throwing and running: The QB seesaw in Starkville leans in the favor of Nick Fitzgerald at least for another week. Fitzgerald went 25-for-38 on pass attempts, throwing for 299 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. He also was able to pick up 110 yards on the ground on 15 carries including a 21-yard scamper. Whether or not we’ll see Damian Williams the rest of the year is up for grabs but for now, Nick Fitzgerald should continue to be the man under center even if he wasn’t super consistent throwing the ball.
2. The ground game for the Bulldogs was tremendous: Fitzgerald’s aforementioned 110 yards on the ground were a chunk of the 299 yards that Mississippi State picked up on Saturday afternoon. Brandon Holloway and Ashton Shumpert combined for 148 yards, 80 and 68 on the ground respectively, and a touchdown that was scored by Shumpert. There are some doubts right now about what’s going on under center, but as far as the run game goes, it’s Mississippi State’s best weapon.
3. The defense continues to be a weakness: Giving up 411 yards to UMass isn’t going to look too great to anybody. The Minutemen dominated especially through the air as they amassed 273 yards with a 6.7 yards per attempt. The Bulldogs were aided by three interceptions that UMass quarterback Andrew Ford threw but this is an awfully problematic situation. They’ll need to shore it up before their rigorous month of November, and we will certainly see where they’re at against the anemic pass offense of Auburn in two weeks.