Fresh off of a big win over San Diego State, Arizona Football (1-0), returns to action for a tough home opener versus Mississippi State (1-0).
The 2022 Arizona Football season is finally underway, and the Wildcats kicked off the year in a big way as they dominated San Diego State to open the season.
Returning to action this Saturday for week two, the Wildcats should have an even bigger challenge on their hands as they take on a talented and skilled Mississippi State team.
Coming in, the Bulldogs are a formidable SEC opponent and are coming off of an impressive win as they dominated Memphis in week one.
Luckily for us, the Bulldogs will have to jump a few time zones and will have to play in what should be a rowdy and raucous environment. Beyond that, they will have to get used to playing at a late, local kickoff time.
With that said, here is our preview of the Wildcats’ game against Mississippi State!
Getting to Know the details of Arizona Football’s opponent, the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
Head Coach: Mike Leach enters his 3rd season with the Bulldogs having compiled a 12–13 (7–11) record at Mississippi State. Wildcats are quite familiar with Leach as he has been around college football for quite some time, having coached at Washington State from 2012–19 and Texas Tech from 2000–09. Overall, he is 151–103 as a head coach.
2021 Record: Finishing 7–6 (4–4) in 2021, Mississippi State ended its season with a 34–7 loss to Texas Tech in the Liberty Bowl. Before that, MSU lost to rival Ole Miss in the annual Egg Bowl.
Key Returners / Starters:
Largely fueled by a pass-heavy, Air-Raid offense, Mississippi State likes to throw the ball a lot, indicative of a Mike Leach-led offense.
Under center will be quarterback, Will Rogers. The junior gunslinger likes to spread the field A LOT! Last season, Will threw the ball 683 times, converting on 505 attempts (73.9 percent) with 36 touchdowns to just nine interceptions.
So far in 2022, he is on great pace again. Against Memphis, Will threw for 450 yards with five touchdowns to just one interception while completing 38 of 49 attempts (77.6 percent).
Coming in, he will look to wide receivers Rara Thomas, Rufus Harvey, Lideatrick Griffin, and Caleb Ducking who seem to get a lot of the targets.
In the backfield, Wildcat fans will see Dillon Johnson and Jo’quavious Marks. Together, the two form a dynamic duo and are more than capable pass catchers out of the backfield.
Overall, this is a high-powered offense that can put up a lot of points in a hurry! Arizona’s defense will have a tough challenge on its hands, to say the least!
Defensively, the Bulldogs looked like a solid group last week, holding Memphis to just 23 points and 294 yards of offense. They are also just a year removed from ranking 30th overall as they held teams to just 344.8 yards and 25.9 points per game.
And in 2022, they still have quite a few key pieces on the defense to make them a competitive group!
Running a 3-3-5 base defense, the Bulldogs have quite some size up front where they are able to generate pressure and create disruption in the backfield thanks in part to the play of Jordan Davis, Cameron Young, and Jaden Crumedy.
At linebacker, MSU has several playmakers as well, with Jett Johnson arguably leading the way. Against Memphis, the Bulldogs’ Will Linebacker registered 13 tackles (seven solo).
In the secondary, the Bulldogs are very active. They like to disguise and several coverages which mean using a rotation of Jalen Green, Corey Ellington, Jackie Matthews, and Collin Duncan at safety. Overall, they did a great job of limiting Memphis in the passing game last week and should challenge Arizona.
Overall, the Wildcats should once again have a challenge on its hands as this is a formidable and aggressive SEC defense. If the Wildcats can move the ball as they did against San Diego State, look for them to have a chance to win this one.
Game information and details for Arizona Football:
When: Saturday, September 10th, 2022
Time: 8:00 PM MST
Spread: +8.0 Arizona (Also, don’t forget to use WynnBet to enhance your overall betting experience)
Where: Arizona Stadium – Tucson, AZ (50,782)
Overall Series Record: 0-0. Surprisingly, Mississippi State and Arizona have never faced each other. And on Saturday, this will be a bit of a historic game as it will be the first meeting between the two schools.
Last Meeting vs. Arizona: N/A
My Prediction: Mississippi State 38 Arizona 28 – I was wrong about Arizona losing to San Diego State, and once again, I hope I am sorely wrong about this one. However, I am just not quite ready to buy into the Arizona hype completely, especially since San Diego State is not Mississippi State.
I do think the Wildcats will keep this one competitive and should make for an entertaining matchup against the Bulldogs, but overall, Mississippi State’s size and talent prove too much for the Wildcats in the end as they come away with the win.