After each win, BulldogBlitz recognizes several players that had outstanding performances that played a major role in Mississippi State's win.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Running Back Anthony Dixon
Senior * 6-1 * 235 * Jackson, Miss.
Rushing: 21 carries for 123 yards
Logan's take: Dixon ran the ball hard in his first game back at Auburn last week and only seemed to get even stronger on Saturday at Vanderbilt. With the passing game still struggling to find it's identity, it is imperative to get the big guy involved. While he didn't score himself, his 40-yard run late in the fourth quarter set up the Bulldogs' only touchdown of the evening. He also moved into third place on the all-time MSU rushing charts passing Michael Davis.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Safety Zach Smith
Junior * 5-11 * 200 * Altoona, Ala.
Defense: seven tackles (5 solo, 2 assists), 1.5 tackles for loss, one pass breakup
Logan's take: K.J. Wright finished with 11 tackles but no player was as disruptive to Vanderbilt's offense than Smith. He had seven stops but seemed to make his presence felt on every play he was on the field. I loved the way the coaches used Smith to blitz off the edge. It reminded me a lot of the Joe Lee Dunn defenses of old and the famous 'Dog safeties'. The Commodores tried the compensate for the safety blitz but even then Smith found his way into the backfield to apply pressure.
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Kicker Sean Brauchle
Junior * 5-10 * 180 * Biloxi, Miss.
Kicking: 3-for-3 on field goal attempts from 27, 44 and 49 yards. Five kickoffs for 330 yards, 66-yard average.
Logan's take: Brauchle looks like he has come a long way since missing his first two kick attempts of the season against Jackson State. He has been perfect since and appears to have settled in as a reliable kicker. Until the late touchdown, Brauchle had accounted for all of the Bulldogs points. He said after the game that he was prepared to kick a final field goal to make it a two score game but the coaches elected to go for it on 4th-and-2 and eventually punched it in.
FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK:
Wide Receiver Chad Bumphis
Freshman * 5-10 * 195 * Tupelo, Miss.
Receiving: Three catches for 15 yards.
Logan's take: There really was not a whole lot to chose from in this category but Bumphis' three catches tied Leon Berry for the team lead in the game. Bumphis' longest catch went for eight yards. It was also the first career starts for Chris Smith and Brandon Heavens.
COACH OF THE WEEK:
Defensive Coordinator Carl Torbush
Logan's take: Talk about going from goat to hero in just a week's time. Torbush was under fire from the fans after his defense surrendered 589 yards including 390 rushing yards to Auburn last week. So how did Torbush's defense respond? They held Vanderbilt to only one first down in the first half and only 33 yards rushing the entire game. I was very impressed with the way Torbush disguised the safety blitz and even when he didn't, the Commodores did not have an answer for it. The defense looked night and day different from the previous week and is what I expected to see from it this season.