HawgBeat - 2020 First Look: Mississippi State Bulldogs
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2020 First Look: Mississippi State Bulldogs

Bulldogs' returning leading rusher Kylin Hill.
Bulldogs' returning leading rusher Kylin Hill. (Getty Images)

We don't yet know the dates or the order, but we do know all 10 of Arkansas's 2020 opponents. Over the course of ten days, we'll give Hog fans an early look at each team on Arkansas's schedule, which is perhaps the toughest slate in all of college football.

Following Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia and LSU alphabetically, Mississippi State is up next in our first look preview series. The Bulldogs hired Mike Leach from Washington State this offseason and they'll be switching from Joe Moorhead's run-heavy offense to Leach's air raid, led by Stanford transfer KJ Costello.

Mississippi State Bulldogs (n/a)

2019 record: 7-6 (3-5 SEC)

All time series vs Arkansas: Arkansas leads the series 16-13 (3-game losing streak)

Last meeting: The Razorbacks hosted the Bulldogs for homecoming in Fayetteville in 2019 but it was running back Kylin Hill that put on a show. Hill ran for 236 yards and three touchdowns on the way to a 54-24 victory. Ben Hicks got his final start as a Razorback but John Stephen Jones and KJ Jefferson played as well. The three combined for 9 completions on 24 throws for just one touchdown and 101 yards passing.

Head Coach: Mike Leach (1st season, 139-90 overall in 18 seasons)

First year Mississippi State head coach Mike Leach, a.k.a. the Pirate.
First year Mississippi State head coach Mike Leach, a.k.a. the Pirate. (AP Sports Images)

Offense

Coordinator: Mike Leach (1st season) Leach spent eight years at Washington State and 10 seasons at Texas Tech.

2019 rushing rank: 21st, 220.6 yards/game

2019 passing rank: 109th, 179.5 yards/game

2019 total rank: 70th, 400.1 yards/game

2019 scoring rank: 76th, 27.2 points/game

Returning starters: 5

Key losses: Tommy Stevens, Deddrick Thomas

Defense

Coordinator: Zach Arnett (1st season) Arnett joins Leach after six seasons att San Diego State

2019 rushing rank: 60th, 152.4 yards/game

2019 passing rank: 97th, 246.8 yards/game

2019 total rank: 73rd, 399.2 yards/game

2019 scoring rank: 73rd, 28.8 points/game

Returning starters: 6

Key losses: Jaquarius Landrews, Brian Cole II, Leo Lewis

Recruiting

Four-year recruiting rankings (2017-20): 27, 23, 25, 26 (Avg. 25.25)

5-stars signed: 1

4-stars signed: 22

Outlook

Without spring football to help transition to Mike Leach's offense, the Bulldogs may not be as potent in year one. They have enough returning talent to be dangerous but their biggest weapon from 2019, Kylin Hill, won't have as many carries. Since Mississippi State is one of the more beatable teams on the schedule, they are No. 2 on the difficulty scale from Alabama to Missouri.

Difficulty Rating: 2