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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

    Passing game shines as Bulldogs become bowl eligible

    Nick Fitzgerald, senior quarterback from Richmond Hills, Georgia, found nine different targets Saturday night to lead Mississippi State University to a 45-3 win over Louisiana Tech University, and to bowl eligibility.

    Deddrick Thomas, a junior wide receiver from Memphis, Tennessee, was one of the nine receivers targeted many times, as MSU went on to gain 243 yards through the air. He said the variety in the passing game showed the team’s collective thought process of “next man up.”

    “It is next man up,” Thomas said. “It builds trust and faith and comfort into everybody. If somebody goes down you know someone else is not going to miss a beat, and just keep on going.”

    Jesse Jackson, a senior wide receiver from Petal, agreed with Thomas about how the depth of the receivers showed the team’s mentality.

    “I think everyone plays a role to win games, its not just the final ball,” Jackson said. “Our team, everyone plays a role. Some people play hot, and some people don’t. I just think it was our turn to step up and take the reigns.” 

    Thomas said he believed Fitzgerald is having great success right now, but not a whole lot has changed about him and the confidence he has had. 

    “I don’t think there is too much different,” Thomas said. “I feel like he (Fitzgerald) can still throw like the way he has been throwing. He is having great success right now, that is all I can say. I think as a team, we have matured as the season has gone on.”

    Fitzgerald continued his dominance through the air with another great performance following his game against Texas A&M, as he threw for 243 yards and four touchdowns. Fitzgerald said he is getting into a rhythm.

    “I think its very apparent that I’m a lot more comfortable in the pocket,” Fitzgerald said. “I have really liked our last two games and our plan to go attack them. I felt comfortable doing it and committing it out there.”

    With Fitzgerald’s confidence and comfort in his passing game, he has made better plays. One of his best throws of the game was to Kylin Hill, who, as Fitzgerald put it, owed him a touchdown catch, and Hill did just this.

    “I threw the same thing to him on Friday during our walk through, and he dropped it,” Fitzgerald said. “So he definitely owed me one. The wheel route is something we throw a lot, so I’m pretty comfortable with it.”

    The Bulldogs will travel to the University of Alabama for their next game. The most important thing for MSU to keep in mind is that they are going into the game much better off than they would have been two weeks ago.

    “I think we go into it with a bit more confidence, no doubt,” Fitzgerald said. “I think we’re a team that has never lost confidence in ourselves. I think we’re a team who has just found our rhythm. It is a new year, and a new team so we’ll have to go to their environment and play lights out.”

    With LA Tech’s defeat, MSU also became bowl eligible for a school record ninth straight season. MSU has only played in 21 bowls in program history. Thomas said everyone’s goal from beginning of the season was to make it to a bowl game.

    MSU essentially controls their own destiny in terms of what bowl game they will qualify for, and they will just take it one game at a time as they have three games left in the season.

    “Next week, we just have to take it one game at a time,” Thomas said. “‘Finish,’ is all I can say. We just have to prepare, come into next week prepared and just execute the best way that we can.”

    MSU will play No. 1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa. CBS will broadcast the game with kickoff set for 2:30 p.m. Saturday. 

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    Passing game shines as Bulldogs become bowl eligible