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The 2022 Mississippi State University Bulldogs Football season

The 2022-2023 MSU Bulldogs were getting ready back in the summer and early fall months to get prepared for the upcoming season. The SEC West was also getting ready with teams such as Alabama and Ole Miss fighting for a spot in the AP top 25.

The Bulldogs first faced off against the team that they lost to in week 3 last year the Memphis Tigers and won that game 49-23 in Starkville. Game 2 would be against Arizona In Tucson with a win over the Wildcats 39-17. The first true test came down in a rivalry game in Baton Rouge against the LSU Tigers with them losing 31-16. Week 4 was a bounce back week with the Bulldogs beating Bowling Green at Starkville 45-14. This game would start a 3 game win streak at Davis Wade Stadium. The next would be against former #17 Texas A&M that was played in Starkville and a Win over the Aggies 42-24. Week six would be homecoming at MSU against the Arkansas Razorbacks and it was a big time win for MSU 40-17 which would put MSU in the #23 in the polls.

The upcoming game was then a downfall for the team because it was against #22 Kentucky at Kroger Field with a big loss 27-17. Next up would be heading to Tuscaloosa,AL to face off against #6 Alabama. This was another loss at Bryant Denny Stadium in a rivalry 30-6. The next game would be another divisional game at Davis Wade against the Auburn Tigers. The game went into Overtime and with a rushing touchdown by Jo’Quavian Marks to end the game 39-33. The next game would be against the top ranked Georgia Bulldogs at Home and right before halftime MSU’s Zavion Thomas would receive a 63 yard punt return for a touchdown, but it wasn’t enough to win the game as the top ranked Georgia Bulldogs would win 45-19 over Mississippi State. The next matchup would be against East Tennessee State and this game was the showing of what would happen in the following weeks. DB Emmanuel Forbes broke the FBS Pick 6 record and put the bulldogs in prime position to win a big game. The Bulldogs won the game 56-7 in a big time non conference game. The next game was a matchup that is known around the state as the Egg Bowl against the Ole Miss Rebels. This game is a historic rivalry in the SEC conference and many games have had unpredictable outcomes. The 2022 Egg Bowl was the game that broke the 2 year reign of Ole Miss with the Bulldogs upsetting the Rebels 24-22.The week was as normal and games were being prepared. Things would take a turn in December.

On December 11,2022, the head coach Mike Leach was suffering from an undisclosed health issue and was sent to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson and was in critical condition. A report from the Clarion-Ledger said that Leach suffered a massive heart attack and did not receive medical treatment from 10-15 minutes. They also mentioned that he suffered from seizures that had led to the contribution of brain damage as a result of this. Sadly on December 12,2022 at the age of 61 in Jackson Mike Leach passed away and the MSU franchise and community were impacted by the death of a head coach. The NCAA and all TV stations were impacted by this event. Later on, interim coach Zach Arnett would fill in for Leach just in time for the final game of the year.

The final game of the season will be played at Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and will play against Illinois in the ReliaQuest Bowl. Right before the game started, MSU took a game of delay to honor the late Mike Leach. And this was a turning point in the SEC West because Mississippi State ended the season with being 3rd in division and with a win over Illinois, they would be ranked in the AP Coach and team final rankings in the nation. Even though Illinois had the ball the majority of the time, the MSU bulldogs beat the Fighting Illini 19-10. Meaning that this was the recent major bowl game victory since the Armed Forces Bowl in 2020 when Mike Leach was the head coach.

The ending of a very weak 2021-2022 season was the changer of how the Bulldogs would represent their school in the 2022-2023 season. The team ended being 22 in the nation and also was 19th in coach rankings. This was one of the best seasons for the MSU Bulldogs since 2014 and broke an 8 year drought of not being ranked in the top 25 at the end of the season.

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