May 24, 2024

Mike Wright will fill in for the injured Will Rogers at quarterback and make his first start for Mississippi State in Saturday’s football game at Arkansas, sources told ESPN.

Rogers injured his shoulder in Mississippi State’s 41-28 win over Western Michigan on Oct. 7. He made the trip to Fayetteville and will be with the team on the sideline but won’t play. The Bulldogs (3-3, 0-3 in the SEC) had an open date last week.

Although this will be Wright’s first start at Mississippi State, he had 11 career starts at Vanderbilt before transferring this offseason to Mississippi State. The 6-foot-4, 195-pound senior has played in all six games this season. He has attempted just 11 passes, but is the team’s second-leading rusher with 138 yards and three touchdowns.

Rogers, a record-setting senior, had started in 38 consecutive games dating to the 24-17 win over Vanderbilt on Nov. 7, 2020. He’s Mississippi State’s career leader in passing yards (11,964) and passing touchdowns (92) and is the only quarterback in SEC history with more than 1,000 completions.

This is Rogers’ first season in new offensive coordinator Kevin Barbay’s offense after previously playing in Mike Leach’s Air Raid system. Leach died last December, and Zach Arnett was promoted from defensive coordinator to head coach. Rogers had passed for 1,275 yards, 10 touchdowns and four interceptions when he was injured two weeks ago.

There’s no timetable on Rogers’ return. He will be evaluated on a week-to-week basis.

It’s been a tough first season for Arnett on the injury front, although a few players are expected back for the Arkansas game.

Mississippi State lost transfer starting safety Ja’Kobi Albert for the season during preseason practice, a major blow to a unit that had to replace three upperclassmen starters from last year’s team.

Defensive linemen Kalvin Dinkins and Trevion Williams suffered injuries early in the season. Williams is out the remainder of the year, while Dinkins is expected to return at some point.

Tight end Ryland Goede and running back Jeffery Pittman both missed the Western Michigan game with injuries. Defensive lineman De’Monte Russell and receiver Justin Robinson missed the past two games with injuries. The Bulldogs expect to get all four back for the Arkansas game.

In addition, Mississippi State expects to get back kicker Kyle Ferrie, who left the Western Michigan game after getting hurt on a roughing the kicker penalty. There’s also optimism that running back Jo’Quavious Marks will be available after he left the Western Michigan game in the first half and didn’t return.

At tight end, in addition to Goede missing the last game, Mississippi State was hit with an NCAA ruling days before the season opener that deemed veteran grad transfer Geor’quarius Spivey ineligible for his final season after he transferred from TCU.

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