7 way-too-early predictions for Mississippi State’s offense in 2022
Mississippi State throws the football a lot.
And it throws it pretty well.
It doesn’t worry a whole bunch about running the football.
Still the Bulldogs had a pretty productive offense in coach Mike Leach’s first 2 seasons.
They lost their starting tackles (Charles Cross and Scott Lashley), a record-setting wide receiver (Makai Polk) and another starting receiver (Malik Heath) from last season.
But they have enough returning and incoming talent to be dangerous again next season.
Here are 7 way-too-early predictions for Mississippi State’s offense in 2022:
1. Will Rogers will break his own school records — and more of Dak’s
Last season Rogers broke Dak Prescott’s single-season school records for passing yards (4,739) and touchdown passes (36).
When he surpasses those totals this season, he’ll be breaking his own records while dropping the Dallas Cowboys quarterback into 3rd place.
Perhaps Rogers will reach 5,000 yards or 40 touchdowns – or both — in 2022.
If that happens, he’ll also break Prescott’s career passing records of 9,376 yards and 70 TD throws. Rogers enters the season with 6,715 career passing yards and 47 TD throws.
2. No one will break Makai Polk’s records
Polk set school records with 105 receptions and 1,046 receiving yards in his only season with the Bulldogs.
State has a bunch of receivers competing for playing time and Rogers will have several viable options from which to choose.
But nobody will reach Polk’s record numbers, though someone might match or even threaten Polk’s team-leading 9 touchdown catches last season.
3. State will allow 40 sacks
The Bulldogs allowed 34 sacks last season and with 2 new starters at tackle, the offensive line will have some growing pains and allow a few more sacks.
But Rogers continues to get more efficient at going through his progressions and delivering the football, which will help mitigate the pressure.
4. Rogers will throw 70 passes in a game
It almost seems inevitable.
He threw 62 passes against LSU and 67 against Memphis last season on his way to 683 throws.
Leach likes to stick with what’s working and Rogers and the passing game will get on a roll in some high-scoring game and the quarterback will throw 70 passes – or more.
5. The Bulldogs will have a 1,000-yard rushing season
Not by an individual, but as a team.
State was last in the SEC last season with 63.2 rushing yards per game and a total of 821 rushing yards.
Leach isn’t going to replace the Air Raid with 3-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust.
The Bulldogs aren’t going to run the ball significantly more than they did last season and they probably will have the least productive running game in the SEC again.
But Jo’quavious Marks and Dillon Johnson are in their third season in Leach’s offense and the coach likes Ke’Travion Hargrove’s explosiveness.
So State should be able to get those extra 179 rushing yards and reach the 1,000 plateau.
6. Scoring will surpass 30 points per game
For all the passing yards that State accumulated last season, it didn’t have a particularly high-scoring offense.
The Bulldogs averaged 29.1 points per game, which was tied for 9th in the SEC.
They’ll be in the middle of the conference pack again, but will score a bit more. They haven’t been above 30 points per game since 2017.
7. Kickers will make 70% of their field goals
State was the only team in the SEC last season to make less than 70% of its field-goal attempts (56%, 14-of-25). Their 11 misses were the most in the country.
Brandon Ruiz and Nolan McCord left, and Massimo Biscardi (Coastal Carolina) and Ben Raybon (Northern Colorado) arrived.
Whether Biscardi, who’s a little more consistent, or Raybon, who has a slightly stronger leg, handles all the kicks or they both get opportunities during the season, the result will be a percentage more in line that of the rest of the conference.