Arizona Football travels to Starkville to take on Mississippi State

Sep 2, 2023; Starkville, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Zach Arnett celebrates with his players after the game against the Southeastern Louisiana Lions at Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 2, 2023; Starkville, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Zach Arnett celebrates with his players after the game against the Southeastern Louisiana Lions at Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports /

Opening the 2023 season with a win against NAU, Arizona Football (1-0) travels to SEC Country to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs (1-0). 

The Arizona Football season is officially underway, and the Wildcats kicked off the year in a big way as they dominated in-state rival, Northern Arizona to open the season.

Returning to action this Saturday for week two of the 2023 season, the Wildcats will travel into the heart of SEC Country as they take on a formidable opponent in Mississippi State.

Coming in, the Bulldogs should present a significant challenge as they are skilled and talented with plenty of size. Beyond that, Arizona will have to jump a couple of timezones as well as play in a raucous SEC environment.

We will see if the Wildcats are up to the test! With that said, here is our preview of Arizona’s game against Mississippi State!

Getting to Know the details of Arizona Football’s opponent, the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

Team: Mississippi State Bulldogs

Conference: SEC

Head Coach: Zach Arnett enters his 1st season with the Bulldogs after taking over for the late, Mike Leach. Currently 1-0 as a head coach, Arnett has big shoes to fill in place of Leach who tragically passed away this past December.

2022 Record: Finishing 9-4 (4–4) in 2022, Mississippi State ended its season with a 24-22 win over rival Ole Miss in the annual Egg Bowl, followed by a 19-10 win over Illinois in the ReliaQuest Bowl.

Key Returners / Starters:


Largely fueled by a pass-heavy, Air-Raid offense, Mississippi State likes to throw the ball a lot, and even with Leach gone, you can still see his impact on this program.

Under center will be a familiar face in quarterback, Will Rogers. The senior gunslinger returns after an impressive junior campaign in which he completed 415-610 pass attempts (68.0 percent) for 3,974 yards, and 35 touchdowns to just eight interceptions.

So far in 2023, he is on great pace again. Against Southeastern Louisiana, Will threw for 227 yards with two touchdowns while completing 20-29 pass attempts (69.0 percent).

Coming in, he will look to spread the field, using a variety of pass catchers that include Lideatrick Griffin, Creed Whittemore, and Justin Robinson getting a lot of the reps at receiver.

In the backfield, Wildcat fans will mostly see Jo’quavious Marks and Jeffery Pittman. Together, the two are more than capable pass catchers out of the backfield and they are going to test Arizona on defense significantly.

Overall, this is a high-powered offense that can put up a lot of points in a hurry, and the Wildcats are going to have a tough challenge on their hands. And finally, we will get a real look at just what kind of defense we have.


Defensively, the Bulldogs looked like a solid group last week, holding Southeastern Louisiana to just seven points and 208 yards of offense. They are also just a year removed from ranking 34th overall as they held teams to just 344.5 yards and 23.1 points per game.

And in 2023, they still have quite a few key pieces on the defense to make them a competitive group!

Like last year, the Bulldogs have quite some size up front where they are able to generate pressure and create disruption. Look for Jaden Crumedy, Trevion Williams, and Kalvin Dinkins to be their main pass rushers.

At linebacker, MSU has several playmakers as well, with Jett Johnson, Nathaniel Watson, and De’Monte Russell seemingly leading the way.

In the secondary, the Bulldogs are very active. They like to disguise and use several coverages which means using a rotation of Decamerion Richardson, Esaias Furdge, and Shawn Preston Jr. among others. Overall, they did a great job of limiting Southeastern Louisiana in the passing game last week and they should challenge Arizona.

Overall, the Wildcats should once again have a tough challenge on their hands as this is a formidable and aggressive SEC defense. If the Wildcats can move the ball and limit the turnovers, I like their chances on the road.

Game information and details for Arizona Football:

When: Saturday, September 9th, 2023

Time: 4:30 PM MST

Watch: SEC Network

Spread: +9.5 Arizona (Don’t forget to sign up with Caesars Sportsbook or DraftKings to enhance your overall betting experience)

Where: Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field – Starkville, MS (61,337)

Overall Series Record: 0-1. After falling to Mississippi State at home last season, Arizona returns, hoping to avenge its 2022 loss to the Bulldogs.

Last Meeting vs. Arizona: The last time these two teams met, Mississippi State came away with a convincing win, beating the Wildcats in Tucson by a 39-17 final.

My Prediction: Mississippi State 34 Arizona 24 – Winning on the road is never easy, it is even tougher when it happens to be in SEC Country. While I do think the Wildcats will keep this one competitive, I think the size and talent disparity will be too much for Arizona to overcome as the Wildcats fall behind early, just coming up short in the end.

Related Story. By the Numbers: Breaking down the Arizona Football win over NAU. light

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