By: Chinmay Vaidya, KCOU Sports
Last year, Mississippi State finished its football season with a 7-6 record and a bowl win over Rice. The Bulldogs had all the talent to make a run in the SEC, but injuries limited them to three conference wins. Two of those wins came in the final weeks to become eligible for a bowl game. This was last year.
Now, the Bulldogs find themselves at No. 3 in the Coaches Poll and atop the SEC West. After rattling off three wins over lower competition, Mississippi State got its big win on the road against No. 8 LSU. The Bulldogs followed that performance with a dominating win over No. 6 Texas A&M. Leading the charge for this Bulldogs team is quarterback Dak Prescott, who has quietly turned into a Heisman candidate. Prescott has more than 1,600 yards of offense and 19 total touchdowns. The Mississippi State defense is rushing the passer well and creating turnovers. Everything seems to be going right in Starkville, Miss. Remind you of any SEC teams?
Let’s start with Auburn. A year after putting up a 3-9 record with zero conference wins, Auburn clinched the SEC title and a spot in the national championship game. The team that Auburn beat in Atlanta had a similar story.
In 2012, the Missouri Tigers went into the SEC with high expectations. The season started poorly and the team constantly struggled with injuries. The Tigers finished 5-7 and missed a bowl game for the first time in seven seasons.
A year later, the Tigers took the SEC East by storm. After running through the non-conference schedule, the Tigers dismantled Vanderbilt before getting a signature win on the road against No. 7 Georgia. Despite losing to South Carolina the following week, the Tigers marched through the rest of the schedule with no hiccups to a division title.
There are countless similarities between Missouri in 2013 and Mississippi State in 2014. Both teams were entering the season trying to eliminate a bitter end to the previous campaign. Both teams had explosive quarterbacks who could dominate when healthy. Both teams had talent on defense to hold their own in the physical SEC. Both teams entered their first test undefeated. Both teams got a signature win on the road.
We know what Missouri did and we think that Mississippi State can do the same thing. Of course, it all depends on Prescott. If he stays healthy and the Bulldogs can handle Auburn this coming Saturday, there will be a lot of clanging in Mississippi.