BY DUDLEY E. DAWSON
Those wanting to know if Mississippi State University star quarterback Will Rogers will start a 39th consecutive football game for the Bulldogs will likely have to wait until Saturday morning.
MSU head coach Zach Arnett expressed a wait and see approach on Wednesday about whether the Bulldogs (3-3, 0-3) would have Rogers or any other injured players for their 11 a.m. game at Arkansas (2-5, 0-4).
“In general guys who have been banged up lately have made progress from where they were last week,” Arnett said on SEC Coaches Teleconference. “We’ll see how the next 48 hours play out. But we are very optimistic that we will get a few guys back Saturday.”
Rogers, who owns the SEC’s single season touchdown record (501) and is the only league quarterback to pass for over 10,000 yards, suffered an injury to his non-throwing shoulder in the fourth quarter of Mississippi State’s 41-28 win over Western Michigan on Oct. 7 that ended a three-game losing skid.
The Bulldogs had a bye week last Saturday to allow those injured players more time to heal for a series in which they trail Arkansas 18-16 all-time, but have won 8 of the last 11 games played between the two.
“Obviously we are excited about getting back to it after being away for a couple of weeks,” Arnett said. “Coming off a bye week week right after the halfway point of the season, which I think if you asked most coaches they would put it if they had their choices. So it came at a good time for us.
“And now we get back to SEC playing facing a really good opponent. I can’t say enough about the respect and admiration I have for Coach Pittman and what he has done there at Arkansas.
“They are playing really good football right now, on on the defensive side of the ball particularly. They are big and physical.”
Arnett is not buying that Arkansas is not a good rushing team this season despite the average yards via the ground is less than half it was last season.
He brought up the 29 sacks that the Razorbacks have allowed, which cuts into the net rushing figures.
“Arkansas runs the ball well, they always have under Coach Pittman,” Arnett said. “I don’t think it’s an accurate representation of called run plays with the ways and stats are compiled these days. Sacks count against it. They re going four four yards a carry when you just look at rushing stats.”
Five of Mississippi State’s first six games were at home, with three of the last six regular season contests on the road.
“We’re on the road more,” Arnett said. “It gets more difficult. We’ll see how we respond to that.”