Countdown to Kickoff: 6 Days

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…

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6.

MSU has a big-play quarterback in Tyler Russell, but last year there weren’t any receivers for him to throw to who were consistent big-play threats. The Bulldogs had six offensive plays of 50-plus yards, which tied for 65th in the country.

Slot receiver Chad Bumphis was the closest Russell had to a downfield threat. Of those six plays, Bumphis had three of them: 72 yards, 68 and 58, two of them going for touchdowns. The other three were running plays: 64 yards (LaDarius Perkins), 60 (Nick Griffin) and 59 (Josh Robinson). The runs by Perkins and Griffin went for touchdowns.

Will Russell have better big-play options this year? There are several potential candidates, but nobody who’s done it yet. Receiver Joe Morrow is a big target who many believe can be that type of player. Jameon Lewis is stepping into the role vacated by Bumphis and has speed to burn, as evidenced by his 100-yard kickoff return in last year’s Egg Bowl. Freshman Fred Ross is an impressive-looking specimen who could become a factor this season.

The advantage of having one or more big-play threats is obvious, and as good as MSU’s offense has been under Dan Mullen, having guys that can bust open a play could bring this offense to an even higher level.

I am the online content coordinator for DJournal.com. Previously at the Journal, I covered Mississippi State athletics (2008-13), high schools (2004-08), and was on the copy desk (2002-04). I'm working on a recipe for bacon-flavored coffee, which would solve all the world's problems.

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