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9:00 AM PT10:00 AM MT11:00 AM CT12:00 PM ET4:00 PM GMT12:00 AM 北京时间9:00 AM MST11:00 AM EST, Oct. 8, 2022
Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field, Starkville, Mississippi  Attendance: 57,849

QB-driven coach Mike Leach, No. 23 Mississippi State face Arkansas

Arkansas Razorbacks at Mississippi State Bulldogs

  1. Arkansas leads the all-time series, 18-13-1, with the first two meetings being played in Memphis (1916 and 1939). Last season, Mississippi State took a 28-23 lead with 2:22 left in the game before Arkansas went on a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive for the 31-28 win.
  2. Last week, Mississippi State defeated then-No. 17 Texas A&M, 42-24, improving to 6-5 versus ranked teams under Mike Leach. The Bulldogs had won just four of their 18 games against AP-Top 25 foes in the previous five seasons before Leach's arrival.
  3. Last week, Will Rogers completed 31 of 45 passes for 329 yards and three touchdowns. He has at least three touchdown passes in four games this season, and his total of 19 is tied for the FBS lead with North Carolina's Drake Maye.
  4. Mississippi State's Emmanuel Forbes had two interceptions last week and returned one of them 33 yards for a score. It was his fourth career pick six, which broke the school record and tied him for the second most in SEC history.
  5. Arkansas lost to Alabama, 49-26, its second straight loss after starting 3-0. Mississippi State will be the fourth ranked opponent that the Razorbacks have played this season (1-2). Arkansas is 4-10 against ranked teams under Sam Pittman.

QB-driven coach Mike Leach, No. 23 Mississippi State face Arkansas

Coach Mike Leach has Mississippi State back in the national spotlight.

For the first time since 2020, the Bulldogs are in The Associated Press' Top 25, slotting at 23rd as they prepare to face Southeastern Conference foe Arkansas on Saturday in Starkville, Miss.

It marks the first time the Bulldogs (4-1, 1-1) have been in the Top 25 since Sept. 27, 2020.

In Leach's first game the day before that ranking, his team steamrolled defending national champion LSU 44-34 behind an SEC-record 623 passing yards from transfer quarterback K.J. Costello.

Leach's history of achievement usually involves the passing game, and the Bulldogs' Will Rogers falls into the category of Leach passers who have had success in college or beyond.

Leach guided NFL No. 1 overall pick Tim Couch and Josh Heupel when he was an assistant at Kentucky and Oklahoma, respectively. As a head coach, he turned out Kliff Kingsbury and Graham Harrell at Texas Tech and Gardner Minshew at Washington State.

Rogers appears destined to join the list.

With his team scoring at least 39 points in four of its five games, the junior has completed 171 of 234 passes for 1,715 yards (third nationally). His 19 TD passes tie him for the top spot with North Carolina's Drake Maye.

"He's gotten better at utilizing the weapons around him more quickly, more decisively," Leach said of Rogers.

Arkansas (3-2, 1-2) has dropped consecutive games to Texas A&M, 23-21, and Alabama, 49-26, and has no margin for error while occupying the SEC's West Division basement.

Down 28-0 to Alabama on its home turf in Fayetteville, the Razorbacks battled to 28-23 on Raheim Sanders' 3-yard TD run late in the third quarter. But the home side couldn't keep up with Jahmyr Gibbs, who ripped off 72- and 76-yard scores in the fourth quarter to help the Crimson Tide vault past Georgia and into the No. 1 poll spot.

While Sanders is having an outstanding season with 609 rushing yards on 105 carries (5.8-yard average), coach Sam Pittman said his team needs to produce more through the air, especially against SEC talent.

"On offense we've got to throw the ball better. Right now, we're one-dimensional," the third-year coach said. "We can't just turn around and hand the ball off and beat good teams."

Saturday's biggest concern for Arkansas is the health status of quarterback KJ Jefferson, who was hit in the head last week during the loss to Alabama and was replaced by Cade Fortin.

Pittman did not mention a concussion but said the passer suffered a head injury. Pittman added this week that the team is in "wait-and-see" mode with Jefferson's progress.

Fortin, a redshirt senior, was 4 of 10 for 35 yards in relief. He is backed up by redshirt freshman Malik Hornsby.

"We're very confident with (Fortin) in practice," Pittman said. "He's done really well in the two-minute situations. He's a good quarterback and he has experience. We also believe in Malik."

Arkansas holds an 18-13-1 all-time edge in the series and has won two straight.

--Field Level Media

Updated October 4, 2022

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