Battered Bulldogs head into bye week with a win

Published 8:01 pm Saturday, October 7, 2023

STARKVILLE (AP) — Mississippi State’s bye week couldn’t be coming at a better time.

The Bulldogs are battered and bruised, and that injury list grew on Saturday in their 41-28 win over Western Michigan.

“These guys have put in the work. They’ve done what we’ve asked them to do. Came out and got a hard-fought victory,” coach Zach Arnett said. “They deserve to enjoy this one. Go into the bye week, take advantage of it, get some guys rested up — bumps and bruises — and go into the second half of the season.”

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Will Rogers threw three touchdown passes before leaving with an injury. Rogers appeared to be dragging his left arm and favoring his shoulder after being dropped on a pass attempt in the fourth quarter.

The Bulldogs (3-3), who lost running back Jo’Quavious Marks in the first half, had 440 yards of offense with 226 through the air. Rogers was 16-of-22 for 189 yards before getting hurt late in the game.

Arnett had no update on either of the starters in his postgame press conference and said they will be re-evaluated during the bye week.

Mike Wright got his most snaps of the season and was 7-of-10 passing for 57 yards, with another seven carries for 24 rushing yards. The extensive use of Wright in the offense was a first for the season.

“Every time his number has been called, he’s answered the call. He’s provided a spark for our offense,” Arnett said. “We said he would get more opportunities, it allows us to expand the package for him, and he answered the call again. We had two quarterbacks do a lot to spark our offense today.”

Mississippi surrendered more than 400 yards to the Broncos, who were short two offensive linemen, quarterback Treyson Bourguet and running back Jalen Buckley. Third string QB Hayden Wolff had no problems for the most part as he was 27-of-35 for 262 yards, three touchdowns and an interception for Western Michigan (2-4).

The Broncos had 413 yards, 297 passing, but Shawn Preston Jr.’s interception late in the fourth quarter sealed the win. It was the fourth time this season that Mississippi State has surrendered 400 yards.

Freshman Seth Davis had 10 carries for 65 yards and his first touchdown for the Bulldogs.

“I was really excited. I went to go thank my linemen and did a little dance after,” Davis said. “Every day in practice I’ve been pushing myself so that I could get opportunities like this.”

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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