After each win, BulldogBlitz recognizes several players that had outstanding performances that played a major role in Mississippi State's win. Go inside to see who publisher Logan Lowery chose as the offensive, defensive, special teams, freshman and coach of the week were.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Running back Vick Ballard
Junior * 5-11 * 215 * Pascagoula, Miss.
Rushing: 20 carries for 98 yards; Receiving: One catch for negative-5 yards
Logan's take: Ballard earns offensive player of the week for the second straight game. Ballard may have been kept out of the end zone but he was ultimately responsible for keeping the chains moving in the second half and chewing up valuable clock and keeping Florida's offense off the field. Ballard would have likely eclipsed the 100-yard plateau had he not suffered an ankle sprain late in the contest. He did not break any big runs but was tough between the tackles.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Linebacker Chris White
Senior * 6-4 * 245 * Vancleave, Miss.
Defense: 11 tackles (nine solo, two assists), 2.5 sacks, 4.5 tackles for loss.
Logan's take: How could I pick someone other than a guy who was selected the top defensive player in the entire Southeastern Conference this past week. White was making plays all over the field at the Swamp and ran down several of Florida's speedy athletes in space. White was also in the backfield plenty as evidenced by his 4.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage. He has also recorded five sacks in the past two games to lead the team in that category.
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Punter Heath Hutchins
Senior * 6-1 * 205 * Saltillo, Miss.
Special Teams: six punts for 260 yards (43.3 yard average) with a long of 50-yards
Logan's take: Hutchins came up big when the Bulldogs needed it most Saturday night. It was his 48-yard punt that pinned Florida at the MSU 4-yard line forcing the Gators to drive nearly the length of the field to get into the end zone or kick a tying field goal. Hutchins did have two touchbacks but also pinned three punts inside the 20-yard line. He also debuted his rugby style kick several times to keep the Gators guessing.
FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK:
Safety Nickoe Whitley
Redshirt Freshman * 6-0 * 200 * Jackson, Miss.
Defense: seven tackles (five solo, two assists)
Logan's take: Whitley gave up some plays in the passing game this past weekend but he stepped it up after Charles Mitchell went out of the game with a concussion. He finised tied for third on the team in tackles. Whitley has made some big hits this season and Saturday was no different. He continues to grow and get experience and should be a staple in the Bulldogs secondary for years to come.
COACH OF THE WEEK:
Defensive coordinator/ linebackers coach Manny Diaz
Logan's take: Diaz could have easily earned coach of the week after every one of MSU's victories this season. His defense has continually came through time and time again bending but not breaking. The defense continued to hold opponents out of the end zone once they reach the red zone giving up only one score. The unit kept Florida out of the end zone the entire first half, recorded three sacks and forced two turnovers. Diaz's named continues to be one of the top defensive coordinator names in the country.