After each win, Logan Lowery of the Daily Journal recognizes several players and a coach that had outstanding performances and played a major role in Mississippi State’s victory. Check out who his offensive, defensive, special teams and coach of the week were.
Wide receiver Jameon Lewis
Junior * 5-9 * 195 * Tylertown, Miss.
Receiving: Nine catches for 220 yards Kickoff Returns: one return for 27 yards Punt Returns: three returns for 20 yards
Logan’s take: Lewis may not have found the end zone in the Liberty Bowl but he certainly played a major role in all of the Bulldogs touchdowns. Lewis broke the school’s single-game receiving record that had stood for 43 years with his 220 yard receiving day. He has played exceptionally well in both of his games in that stadium having totaled 419 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns. Lewis was the most reliable and biggest threat Dak Prescott had in the passing game. Although Prescott received the MVP trophy, my vote went to “Tubby”.
Defensive end Preston Smith
Junior * 6-6 * 255 * Stone Mountain, Ga.
Defense: six tackles (four solo, two assists), one quarterback hurry
Logan’s take: What an amazing day it had to be for Smith. Not only did he receive the trophy for being MSU’s most valuable defensive player but also became a father for the first time as his daughter Lauren Marie was born earlier that morning. Smith applied pressure to the quarterback a lot more than his one hurry indicates and led the team in tackles. The decision to pull the redshirt off him midway through the 2011 season is still one that has me scratching my head and probably one MSU coaches will regret in 2015.
Kicker Taylor Earhart
Senior * 6-1 * 180 * Olive Branch, Miss.
Field Goals: 1-of-1, 19 yards Kickoffs: one kickoff for 58 yards
Logan’s take: What a cool moment in the fourth quarter when Earhart came on for his first and last field goal attempt at MSU. Sure, a 19-yarder is a chip shot for most kickers but I’m sure there had to be some nervousness on Earhart’s part. He booted it through with ease and also got to make his third kickoff in the game as well. I’m sure it was overlooked by many fans but I like seeing things like this happen for walk-ons.
Safety Deontay Evans
Redshirt freshman * 5-10 * 210 * McComb, Miss.
Defense: four tackles (two solo, two assists)
Logan’s take: Evans finished tied for second on the team in tackles in his first career start. He filled in quite nicely for the injured Nickoe Whitley. I’m expecting a lot of big things from Evans moving forward. He has shown flashes in practice of being a big-time playmaker in the secondary but hasn’t had too many opportunities on the field so far in his career. Evans has a nose for the football and doesn’t shy away from contact which are two definite traits you want in a safety.
Defensive coordinator/ linebackers
Logan’s take: Collins’ once young defense continued to mature throughout the year which seemed to culminate in its dominant performance in the Liberty Bowl. MSU held Rice to just 145 yards total and only surrendered seven points off a turnover. The Owls entered the game averaging 240 yards on the ground but were limited to 61 rushing yards. Collins is the definition of a players’ coach and his enthusiastic personality has rubbed off on his players and can be witnessed out of the field through their play.