(Photo credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports)
Mississippi State, after losing its first three Southeastern Conference games of the season, gets a break from the league gauntlet and will try to build some momentum ahead of a bye week when it faces Western Michigan on Saturday in Starkville, Miss.
Mississippi State coach Zach Arnett hopes the recent struggles will force his Bulldogs (2-3) to go into the meeting with the Broncos (2-3) with the right mindset.
"I kind of hope we show up an angry football team," Arnett said. "I hope we've got a lot of angry football players. I hope we've got a lot of angry coaches. I hope we play like an angry football team. I happen to think that leads to improved play on the field, actually."
The Bulldogs enter Saturday coming off a 40-17 home loss to then-No. 12 Alabama, their 16th consecutive setback to the Crimson Tide.
Mississippi State trailed 24-10 when Arnett decided not to run out the clock as his team started a drive with 1:03 left before halftime. That move backfired when Will Rogers, who had thrown a pick-six in the first quarter, threw another interception that set up another Alabama touchdown.
"The one thing we can't do is turn the ball over, and unfortunately that's what happened," said Arnett, who took responsibility for the deflating end to the half.
Western Michigan doesn't have any reason to be angry because it is coming off its best performance of the season, a 42-24 home victory against Ball State.
"That was our most complete game to date," Broncos first-year coach Lance Taylor said. "We played complementary football and got our run and pass game going while not turning the ball over."
Western Michigan's defense had a season-high six sacks and 10 tackles for loss. Redshirt freshman quarterback Treyson Bourguet had season highs of 24 completions, 39 attempts, 328 yards and three touchdown passes. He connected with Anthony Sambucci for all three scores.
"First couple of games, we were just pounding the rock and I didn't need to do much," Bourguet said. "But now, it's finally the passing game coming to fruition and it feels really good to see."
--Field Level Media