STARKVILLE • Much of this season, Mississippi State maintained the nation’s longest takeaway streak.
The Bulldogs’ defense had created a turnover in 22 straight games, a run that began at Arkansas in 2017 but ended two weeks ago in a 36-13 loss to No. 2 LSU.
Since then, MSU has been the one giving away the ball. The Bulldogs have turned the ball over six times in the past two games – three interceptions and three fumbles – and have not generated any of their own defensively.
Mississippi State’s 18 turnovers this season are the most in the SEC and only eight teams in the country have committed more. The Bulldogs are minus-2 in turnover margin for the season.
“It’s going to be tough to win a lot of games when you’re turning it over and not creating very many turnovers,” said MSU coach Joe Moorhead.
In the LSU loss, quarterback Garrett Shrader was picked off twice and then tossed an interception in a 49-30 loss at Texas A&M last weekend when Aggie cornerback Devin Morris wrestled the ball away from Isaiah Zuber on the ground.
“With quarterbacks and interceptions, that comes down to decisions and accuracy,” Moorhead said. “You have to know when it’s better to take a sack or throw it away than to try to throw it in an ill-advised spot.”
Running back Nick Gibson has been responsible for two of State’s last three fumbles. Gibson caught a 24-yard pass against LSU and fumbled on the following play and also coughed up the ball at the end of an 8-yard run to begin a drive against Texas A&M.
Stephen Guidry is guilty of the other fumble, which came after a 25-yard catch to start a drive against the Aggies.
“We do ball security circuit at a minimum of once a week and usually twice a week,” Moorhead said. “It’s just about habits, keeping the ball high and tight and not letting it get away from your body. That’s something we drill every week in practice and obviously need to continue to do a better job of it.”