Blown chances help doom Dogs
Execution and chemistry were buzz words for MSU in loss to Troy State.
By Parrish Alford
STARKVILLE - Identifying Mississippi State's offensive problems Saturday was the simple part. Solving them may be another story.
Execution and chemistry were the buzzwords for the Bulldogs' after their 21-9 loss to Division I newcomer Troy State Saturday.
"We're not executing like we thought we would," sophomore receiver Justin Jenkins said. "It's hard to go out and compete when you know people are looking down on you. But we have to go out and attack the other team. Hopefully some things will go our way."
Jenkins got behind the Troy State secondary to make an athletic, one-handed catch in the back of the end zone for State's only touchdown. It came from 22 yards away with 1 minute, 19 seconds remaining in the second quarter and was the Bulldogs' lone touchdown.
State has scored only two touchdowns in the last three games.
Missed opportunities Saturday were critical as the Bulldogs fought to rally from a 21-0 deficit. An MSU defense which had not been forcing turnovers extracted five from the Trojans.
But the MSU offense converted not a single turnover into points.
The Bulldogs' best chance to get back in the game came in the final 1 minute, 30 seconds of the third quarter.
Troy quarterback Brock Nutter completed a short pass to fullback Chris Cox. A viscous hit by strong safety Shawn Byrdsong separated the ball from Cox, and it was recovered by State's Tommy Kelly at the Troy 10-yard line.
But on first down Jenkins dropped a pass in the end zone. On second down Dontae Walker ran for 2 yards. After an incomplete pass, Wayne Madkin's fourth down pass to fullback Darnell Jones - with the Trojans' blitzing - netted a 6-yard loss.
"When you get the ball at the 10 you have to capitalize on that," Kelly said. "To me, it's like they were trying to give the game away. They had five turnovers. You've got to capitalize on that too."
State's final points came on a 24-yard field goal by John Michael Marlin after Troy once again denied the Bulldogs the end zone with 3:11 left in the third.
"We're going to get this straight. We've got to," Kelly said. "We've got too much talent on this team to keep losing."