After each win, Logan Lowery of the Daily Journal recognizes several players and a coach that had outstanding performances and played a major role in Mississippi State’s victory. Check out who his offensive, defensive, special teams, freshman and coach of the week were from the Battle for the Golden Egg.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Junior * 5-11 * 215 * Columbus, Miss.
Rushing: 27 carries, 132 yards Receiving: one catch, one yard
Logan’s take: Kylin Hill never did reach the end zone against Ole Miss but he certainly had a huge impact for the Bulldogs offensively. Hill carried the load with a workmanlike 27 carries – which tied a career-high - and his presence opened up a pair of touchdown runs for quarterback Garrett Shrader on the goal line. He has now rushed for over 100 yards in eight games this season and is just 44 yards shy of Anthony Dixon’s school single-season rushing record.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Linebacker Erroll Thompson
Junior * 6-1 * 250* Florence, Ala.
Defense: 11 tackles (seven solo, four assists), one tackle for loss, one forced fumble, one pass break-up
Logan’s take: The Bulldogs had several deserving defensive efforts last Thursday but Erroll Thompson seemed to be all over the field. He led the team in tackles and also forced a fumble on Ole Miss’ first offensive drive that Brian Cole was able to recover at the MSU 31-yard line. Thompson also hinted on Twitter that he will return for this senior season, which would be huge for the Bulldogs in 2020.
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Wide receiver JaVonta Payton
Junior * 6-1 * 180 * Nashville, Tenn.
Receiving: one catch, 11 yards Tackles: one solo, one assist
Logan’s take: The Egg Bowl had to be an emotional game for JaVonta Payton, who had previously signed with Ole Miss out of high school. Payton provided the Bulldogs with some excellent coverage on the kickoff team, combining with Sherman Timbs on a big hit at the 19-yard line in the second quarter and opening up the second half by rocking Tylan Knight at the 13-yard line. I expect Payton will play a much bigger part in the passing game next season.
FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
Quarterback Garrett Shrader
True freshman * 6-4 * 220 * Charlotte, N.C.
Passing: 10 of 14, 108 yards Rushing: 12 carries, 19 yards, two touchdowns
Logan’s take: Garrett Shrader has had better statistical games this season but led the Bulldogs to a win in his first Egg Bowl. There had to be a lot of pressure on Shrader’s shoulders making his first start since Oct. 26 with State desperately needing a win to break even and go to another bowl game. Shrader did lose a fumble but made some good decisions, especially his running reads in goal line situations.
COACH OF THE WEEK
Defensive coordinator/ safeties
Logan’s take: All of Mississippi State’s defensive coaches deserve a ton of credit for holding the SEC’s top rushing team to only 139 yards last Thursday. Bob Shoop had an excellent game plan in eliminating big gains on the ground and held Ole Miss quarterback John Rhys Plumlee to only 34 yards on 18 carries. Shoop has had to coach for much of the season essentially with one hand tied behind his back due to injuries and suspensions but we were able to get a glimpse of how good the Bulldogs’ could’ve been on that side of the ball with the return of Lee Autry, Willie Gay Jr. and Marcus Murphy.