Saturday, November 17, 2012
Bulldogs' rout ends Arkansas' bowl hopes
By Edward Aschoff
After suffering three straight blowouts at the hands of SEC foes, Mississippi State put up a nice route of its own with a 45-14 drubbing of Arkansas.
Behind the arm of quarterback Tyler Russell, the Bulldogs (8-3, 4-3 SEC) rolled up 38 unanswered points after trailing 14-7 early in the second quarter. Twenty-eight of those points came in the second half. Russell deflated Arkansas' already struggling defense with 274 passing yards and four touchdowns. He got plenty of help from his defense, as the Bulldogs forced five turnovers.
Following Arkansas' second scoring drive, the Razorbacks crossed into Mississippi State territory just once on its last 11 drives.
Russell was excellent all day for the Bulldogs. He slipped in some beautiful passes through Arkansas defenders and then floated a couple of perfectly thrown balls over Razorbacks players, including 24-yard third-quarter touchdown pass to running back LaDarius Perkins that put the game out of reach at 31-14.
Russell has been extremely efficient all year and now has 21 touchdown passes to just four interceptions. He got a lot of help on Saturday from wide receiver Chad Bumphis, who caught six passes for 82 yards and two touchdowns.
The win pushes the Bulldogs closer to the 10 wins that many expected from Mississippi State after its 7-0 start. The Bulldogs needed some sort of spark after their three-game slide and got it in a major way by dominating the Razorbacks in every part of the game, rolling up 505 yards of offense and holding the Hogs to just 359.
As for the Razorbacks (4-7, 2-5), this loss ends their chance at a bowl berth. Arkansas' long, unsuccessful season will officially end next weekend when the Hogs take on LSU at home.
The year was supposed to be full of such promise, but everything came crashing down after Bobby Petrino's embarrassing dismissal. It was the start of a very miserable year for the program, but it will be ending soon. It won't be ending the way players and coaches wanted it to, but it's time for this program to get a much-needed fresh start.