The Orange Bowl is coming up on New Year’s Eve between the No. 10 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and the No.8 Mississippi State Bulldogs.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
To get a little background on the Mississippi State Bulldogs going into the Orange Bowl matchup, we here at “Yellow Jacked Up” put together a few questions that fans had, as well as ourselves, about the Bulldogs and posed them to Josh Barnhill who is the editor for “Maroon and White Nation” which is a Mississippi State Bulldogs’ website on the Fansided network.
Q. Some people feel that Dak Prescott is more hype than substance and that the only reason why he has been so highly regarded is because of the supposed SEC bias that plays out on TV. What would you say to those people?
A. – he broke 10 school records this year
– in a state that includes two top 10 teams, he was selected as the state’s top player as voted by the state’s media
– he led the top SEC offense despite it not including any four or five star athletes
– his statistics are comparable to Tim Tebow’s when he was at Florida
If none of those examples are impressive, Tech fans will see him first hand soon enough.
Q.Dan Mullen has obviously brought a culture change to Starksville. Do you think that this season for Mississippi State is the rule now or an aberration?
A. Seasons like 2014 – contending for the playoffs the entire year – are certainly not the rule for MSU or any team not named Alabama, Oregon or Ohio State. I think State will be able to have some of these cycle up years again, but it will be hard to continue double-digit win seasons in more than 1-2 year spans. The SEC West is an absolute monster- winning 7-8 games is a very solid season.
Q. Do you think that Geoff Collins leaving for the Florida Defensive coordinator job put the Mississippi State defense at a disadvantage going into this game?
A. There’s no doubt. It’s hard enough losing your DC two weeks before a big game let alone when trying to prepare for a unique offense none of your players have seen at the college level.
Q. What do you see as a weakness of the Bulldogs that could be an issue going into the Orange Bowl?
A. MSU’s success this year has been aided by not really having a weakness. The secondary is arguable, but Georgia Tech doesn’t throw the ball much. This game really plays into State’s strength in the front seven. But if I have to pick a weakness it would be the safeties as they are injured or suspended, so that could cause some issues when Tech gets to the second level.
Q. Do you feel the reason why Paul Johnson Georgia Tech have snuffed out Mississippi State the last two meetings in 2008 and 2009 was because of his system or because of bad Bulldog football teams?
A. Probably a combination of the two. The 2008 MSU team was very poor and Johnson absolutely gutted the defense. In 2009, State played better at home but still turned the ball over four times including once inside the five giving themselves no real chance to win.
Q. How difficult will preparation for the defense be to stop the triple option offense of GA. Tech , for the new defensive coordinator?
A. MSU doesn’t have a new DC yet, but the triple option will present problems of course. Given three weeks, however, I feel like they have ample time to prepare and install the necessary gameplan needed so Geoff Collins leaving is still no excuse if GT rips off 600 yards.
Q. We already know that you think Mississippi State is going to win so give us the keys to victory for Mississippi State.
A. Staying focused on defense, keeping your assignment and making form tackles – prevent the big play.
Create some tackles for loss to get GT off schedule
Stay committed to running the football with Josh Robinson.
We here at yellowjackedup.com would like thank Josh Barnhill from maroonandwhitenation.com for taking the time to answer these questions.
The Orange Bowl will be played on December 31st at 8PM EST on ESPN.