Mississippi State has some elite talent returning to the gridiron in 2022 and will look to light up the scoreboard all season.
Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense is primed for a breakout year in 2022 with an elite quarterback in Will Rogers at the helm. The signal-caller is entering his third season with the team and has shown flashes of improvement in the offseason. Rogers could have an impressive season in 2022, especially with talented targets such as Jaden Walley, Rara Thomas, Austin Williams and Jamire Calvin surrounding him.
On the other side of the ball, MSU returns one of the best defensive backs in the SEC in Emmanuel Forbes — along with the addition of former Alabama defensive back Marcus Banks. The Bulldogs also have a solid group of linebackers which includes elite edge rusher Tyrus Wheat and a talented veteran in Jett Johnson.
MSU faces a tough schedule this season, but let’s take a look at how 2022 could shape up for the Bulldogs:
Mississippi State vs. Memphis (Sep 3rd)
The Bulldogs open up the season against the Memphis Tigers in an intriguing matchup after what was a controversial ending between the two teams in 2021. Memphis lost most of its talent in the offseason and could be in for a long night in Starkville. Leach will have the Bulldogs ready for revenge, and MSU will open up 2022 with an impressive non-conference win.
Mississippi State at. Arizona (Sep 10)
MSU will travel to the desert to face Arizona in a late-night game. The Wildcats have won just one game in the last two seasons, but the Bulldogs will have to be careful against an opponent that might be underrated. In the end, MSU should come out victorious against the Wildcats with a red-hot offense the Wildcats and start the season 2-0.
Mississippi State at. LSU (Sep 17)
Leach and the Bulldogs will head to Baton Rouge to open SEC play against new conference coach Brian Kelly and the LSU Tigers. The last time the Bulldogs faced off against the Tigers at Death Valley, former MSU signal-caller K.J. Costello passed for an SEC-record 623 yards and five touchdowns. Expect MSU to come out with a win in what should be a competitive matchup.
Mississippi State vs. Bowling Green (Sep 24)
After two back-to-back road games, MSU comes back to Davis Wade Stadium to face Bowling Green. The Bulldogs should handle the Falcons with ease as MSU gets ready to welcome Texas A&M to Starkvegas the following weekend.
Mississippi State vs. Texas A&M (Oct 1)
Last season in College Station, the Bulldogs upset head coach Jimbo Fisher and the Aggies. Texas A&M comes into 2022 with the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation and will look to avenge its loss to MSU in 2021. The Aggies are a very talented team, and even though there are questions surrounding the quarterback position, Texas A&M will find a way to win and hand State its first loss of 2022.
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Mississippi State vs. Arkansas (Oct 8)
The Bulldogs will welcome the Arkansas Razorbacks to Davis Wade Stadium in what should be an outstanding SEC shootout. The Hogs have one of the top quarterbacks in the country in KJ Jefferson, and the surrounding cast for the signal-caller is equally impressive. Head coach Sam Pittman and the Razorbacks will give Leach his second loss of the season in a competitive, high-scoring game.
Mississippi State at. Kentucky (Oct 15)
MSU seems to have had the Wildcats’ number over the last few seasons, and the Bulldogs will be ready for a competitive matchup in Lexington. Last season, Rogers set an SEC record after posting a 92.3 percent completion percentage against Kentucky. State’s defense also forced quarterback Will Levis to throw three interceptions. Levis is regarded as one of the most talented quarterbacks in the country entering 2022, but if MSU can contain him, the Bulldogs should come out with a win.
Mississippi State at. Alabama (Oct 22)
The Bulldogs will make a quick trip to Tuscaloosa for a midseason matchup against Alabama. Quarterback Bryce Young and the Crimson Tide just have too much talent and depth for MSU — or almost any team — to hang around. Leach and the Bulldogs could compete well for a few quarters, but Alabama will hand State its third loss of the season and push the Bulldogs’ record to 5-3.
Mississippi State vs. Auburn (Nov 5)
This matchup last season saw MSU set a record for the largest comeback in school history last season, but it might not be as big of a game this year. There are many questions surrounding Auburn this season, so the Air Raid should handle the Tigers with relative ease in Starkville. The Bulldogs will be bowl eligible for the 13th consecutive year with a win.
Mississippi State vs. Georgia (Nov 12)
MSU will welcome the defending national champions in what should be a game to look out for in 2022. Head coach Kirby Smart has done amazing things during his time at Georgia, but most of the elite defensive talent has moved on. If the Bulldogs can make big plays and keep quarterback Stetson Bennett at bay, MSU could make this matchup interesting. However, Georgia is deep at nearly every position and should be able to pull out the win, handing State its fourth loss of the season.
Mississippi State vs. East Tennessee State (Nov 15)
East Tennessee State makes its way to Starkville in what should be a blowout. The Bulldogs have too much firepower and are a much bigger program overall. Starters will likely be rested early in order to prepare for the upcoming Egg Bowl.
Mississippi State at. Ole Miss (Nov 24)
The one thing that Leach has not accomplished during his time at MSU is winning an Egg Bowl against Ole Miss. 2022 might be the year that finally happens, as the Rebels lost many talented players on both sides of the ball in the offseason. The matchup will be competitive, but the Air Raid should be successful against an Ole Miss defense that has struggled at times. The grit and determination to bring the Golden Egg back to Starkville will fuel the Bulldogs to a rivalry win to close out the regular season.
Regular-season record prediction: 8-4 (4-4)