After his kickers missed all three field goal attempts in a 31-28 loss to Arkansas on Saturday, Mississippi State coach Mike Leach asked reporters on his post-game videoconference call to relay a message to the student body.
“Announce this,” he said. “There’s an open tryout on our campus for kickers. Anybody that wants to kick or walk on and kick at Mississippi State, we’ll hold a tryout any time you can get over there to our building, providing you’re cleared by the NCAA.”
Senior Brandon Ruiz was 0-for-2 on field goal attempts with misses from 23 and 46 yards, and freshman Nolan McCord missed his lone attempt from 40 yards. They are a combined 9-for-17 on field goal attempts this season.
Mississippi State battled back from down 14-0 to take a 28-23 lead in the fourth quarter on Saturday, but a 4-yard touchdown run by Arkansas’ Dominque Johnson was enough to hand the 17th-ranked Bulldogs their fourth loss of the season.
Leach said the defense could have tackled better. Offensively, he said, they squandered too many opportunities in the first half.
“We allowed this thing to be closer than we had to and we lost,” Leach said.
Quarterback Will Rogers completed 36 of 48 passes for 417 yards, four touchdowns and an interception. He was sacked three times.
Mississippi State struggled to run the ball, gaining 78 yards on 26 carries.
The Bulldogs go on the road to Auburn next Saturday.