More Cowbell Snapshot: Brandon Walker gives his take on K-State victoryBy BRANDON WALKER,
It’s hard to know exactly when I first came to think Mississippi State could have a very special season in 2018.
Might have been last year, when a young Bulldogs’ group won 9 games. It might’ve been during new coach Joe Moorhead’s introductory press conference last November, as it just seemed like he could be the right guy at the right time.
And it might’ve been during the spring, when MSU’s talent was on full display during MSU’s spring game.
Whenever I had the first notion is really irrelevant, because I became sure of MSU’s potential to compete for a championship this past Saturday in Manhattan, Kansas.
On a chilly Saturday morning in the middle of the middle of the country, on the road, against a team that rarely loses at home, Mississippi State treated Kansas State like an elite team treats an overmatched opponent.
It was no contest. This wasn’t contender against contender, this was bulldozer against tulip, and the Bulldogs were driving the dozer.
In a 31-10 waxing that wasn’t as close as the score indicated, MSU looked the part of SEC power as it dominated offensively, defensively and psychologically.
It was such a departure from the norm, from the previous decades of MSU football, that I immediately watched it back on DVR, starting the replay seconds after the game actually ended. My original thoughts were confirmed.
With Nick Fitzgerald back from suspension, with a defensive line that ranks among the country’s very best, with a tailback who looks like a future star and with a coaching staff that is clearly cut from a different cloth than the past nine years, this MSU team could be very, very special.
Those kinds of teams don’t come around often in this state. It happened in Starkville and Oxford in 2014. It happened in Oxford in 2003. It happened in Starkville in 1999. This Bulldogs’ team, led by Fitzgerald - who will only get better - is seriously good.
Enjoy it, State fans.
Hill the Thrill
It’s rare to see a star being born. It doesn’t happen often.
It happened Saturday in Manhattan, Kansas. While the return of Fitzgerald to the MSU lineup stole the headlines coming into the game, it was sophomore tailback Kylin Hill who took those headlines and completely rewrote them during the 21-point win. Hill, from Columbus, destroyed Kansas State almost single-handedly.
He touched the ball 18 times and gained 227 yards, 14 more than Kansas State’s entire team.
He scored three touchdowns, and displayed the complete package - speed, power, vision, swagger - at running back.
Watching Kansas State’s defenders trying to tackle Hill was almost cringe-worthy. I’ve watched whitetail deer do a better job tackling pickup trucks.
Hill not only announced his presence with authority to the MSU fanbase, he also served notice to the rest of the league: Kylin Hill is a star, and he has arrived.
Mullen it over
It would be petty for me, a Mississippi State fan, to be happy about Dan Mullen and Florida losing to Kentucky Saturday night.
Luckily, petty suits me just fine.
Look, I appreciate all that Mullen did during his nine years in Starkville. But after watching him go down without a fight in the 2017 Egg Bowl before skipping town two days later to take the head coaching job at Florida, I will admit that I watched with a big smile on my face when Mullen and the Gators lost to Kentucky for the first time since 1986 on Saturday night.
That smile will only be topped on Sept. 29, when Mullen returns to Starkville and gets what he has coming.
Around the SEC
In Oxford, the Ole Miss offense is proving to be an irresistible force. Unfortunately, it may not matter, because the Rebel defense looks like a very movable object.
Elsewhere, Alabama is Alabama, but other conference teams looked quite vulnerable in week 2. Kentucky vs. Florida was a pillow fight. Neither will matter in the SEC this year.
South Carolina exposes itself as a fraud on an annual basis, and they went ahead and got it out of the way early this year by getting destroyed by Georgia.
The LSU top 15 tour should be coming to an end soon, as the paper Tigers will be exposed by Auburn this coming Saturday.
Meanwhile, Arkansas apparently has a team, too, though you wouldn’t know it by their complete disappearing act in a loss to Colorado State.