Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022
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Texas vs. Mississippi State: Bulldogs welcome Longhorns to SEC

iMPA+junior+Aidan+Cogan+celebrates+with+friends+after+a+Texas+touchdown+during+UTs+game+against+OU+on+Oct.+7%2C+2023.
Lorianne Willett
iMPA junior Aidan Cogan celebrates with friends after a Texas touchdown during UT’s game against OU on Oct. 7, 2023.

In its first conference game as part of the SEC, Texas will take on Mississippi State on Saturday, Sept. 28 in Austin.

However, with a daunting and unfamiliar road ahead full of harsh competition, Mississippi State is not an opponent that Texas fans are thinking about ahead of the season. 

Coming off a 5–7 overall record and a 1–7 conference record last season, the Bulldogs finished tied for last in conference rankings with Arkansas, losing significantly to every SEC opponent they came across besides the Razorbacks.  


Former Bulldog head coach Zach Arnett was fired in mid-November when the team held a 4–6 record. Arnett is now a defensive analyst for Mississippi State’s rival, Ole Miss, while Jeff Lebby, who was previously Oklahoma’s offensive coordinator, moved to Starkville to take over head coach duties. In his last season at Oklahoma as offensive coordinator, the Sooners ranked fourth in the nation for offense.

According to ESPN’s College Football Power Index, Mississippi State is predicted to win five games and was given roughly a 40% chance of winning six games throughout the whole season. If the team can clench those wins, it would give the Bulldogs automatic bowl eligibility.  

The school has a low 1.7% chance of making the College Football Playoff. However, that can be blamed on having a tough schedule ahead. Mississippi State’s 2024 football schedule ranks second in strength in the nation, right behind Florida.

Despite the odds ahead, Lebby seems to be recruiting well for the Bulldogs, focusing heavily on the offensive line after losing seven players from last season. They brought in senior Ethan Miner, junior Makylan Pounders and junior Jacoby Jackson as transfers on the offensive line. Lebby also brought in senior Kelly Akharaiyi and junior Kevin Coleman as transfer wide receivers along with high school prospects to compensate for the loss of Lideatrick Griffin and Zavion Thomas who went to the NFL and the transfer portal, respectively. 

As for the defensive side, there is talent despite the lack of experience. Sophomore safety Isaac Smith, redshirt freshman cornerback Kelley Jones and sophomore defensive lineman Trevion Williams are potential newcomers that Texas will have to keep an eye on.

With new coaching and recruitment strategies, no one truly knows the potential of Mississippi State in the upcoming season. The Longhorns must be prepared to handle the Bulldogs as they make their entrance into the Southeastern Conference at the end of September in the Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.

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About the Contributor
Lorianne Willett, Photo Editor
Lorianne is a Journalism and Global Sustainability junior from San Antonio, Texas. Currently, she is the Photo Editor. In her free time, she enjoys reading and playing tennis.