We’re counting down to MSU’s season opener against Oklahoma State on Aug. 31, giving you a significant number to ponder as August trudges on. Today’s number is…
Fourth-quarter scoring can be meaningful, or it can be meaningless. It all depends on the context. Last season, MSU outscored its opponents by a total of 24 points – 93-69 – in the fourth. But what does that mean? And when did fourth-quarter scoring actually factor into the final result?
Well, MSU didn’t have many nail-biters. During its 7-0 start, State’s average margin of victory was 22.3 points, but there were a couple of close ones in there: The Bulldogs won at Troy, 30-24, and beat Tennessee at home, 41-31. Both wins were iced with late touchdowns. Troy outscored MSU 10-7 in the fourth quarter, but Chad Bumphis‘ fourth-down touchdown catch in the back of the end zone with 7 minutes left made it a 30-21 game.
Against Tennessee, MSU won the fourth quarter, 14-7. Malcolm Johnson‘s TD catch in the back of the end zone with 9 seconds left gave MSU its final margin of victory.
As you know, State stumbled at the end of last season, losing five of its last six games. Four of those losses were blowouts, but victory was attainable entering the fourth quarter against Northwestern. Well, the Bulldogs and Wildcats scored one touchdown apiece, and NU won 34-20. You could argue that MSU had a shot against LSU, trailing by two TDs entering the fourth in that one. The Tigers scored one last TD, and State managed no points.