Brown Getting Good Grip On Wideout Game

Upon further review…Fred Brown wants to confirm the call on the field of a touchdown. Never mind accusations the Bulldog receiver had let loose the football a bit too soon. “We watched it Sunday night and it cleeearly stated I crossed the plane before I dropped it!”

Well, cleeearly the call stood, for that matter wasn’t challenged since Brown’s touchdown pass play simply padded the final margin of Mississippi State victory. A clear one at that, 48-31 over Texas A&M, and coming on the happy heels of a 34-29 win at LSU sufficient to bring closer review of this Bulldog team.

The result? A highest-ever ranking of #3 (Associated Press), just in time to host the #2-rated Auburn Tigers in what shapes up as a mid-season showdown for SEC West preeminence. For a Bulldog bunch who began the campaign unranked, yeah…

“It feels pretty good,” said Brown. “But we’re still working hard every day, coming out and grinding to get more playing time and make more big plays every week.”

It was a big play that produced the sophomore’s first college touchdown. Brown turned a tough sideline throw from Dak Prescott into a 51-yard scoring play and 41-7 lead leaving no doubt which side would be in the top-ten this week. It also reminded that while Mississippi State’s offense is built around the big running abilities of Prescott and Josh Robinson behind a maturing offensive line...don’t overlook the air attack.

Nor Brown for that matter. He came into game-five with just six catches for 104 yards as a rotation split end; two balls against the Aggies went for 69 more yards and that scoring play. And what a gem it was, with Prescott releasing before Brown had stopped on a sideline streak much less begun to turn-and-square.

But “We’ve worked on that in practice,” Brown said, as if it needed saying. So sharp was the execution and confidence in both route and runner, the hours of practice invested were obvious. That holds equally true for Prescott’s work with the rest of the receiving corps, since eight targets have touchdowns already…not counting Prescott himself on the now-expected throwback play.

It isn’t just scoring that is spread around the whole wideout group. Slot-man Lewis leads them all with just 15 catches, followed closely by split end De’Runnya Wilson with 14. After that? It comes down to whose turn it is to run the route. In Brown’s case, in rotation with starter Wilson.

“We all just switch-out. Me and Bear (Wilson) every other series we switch out. Either he’s in or I’m in and we expect to make that big play. And we made some Saturday.”

Not many as special as Brown’s big play. So well-executed was the throw that Prescott’s pass was practically in the facemask as Brown turned. “Ooooh, he made a good throw! I just adjusted to it and went up and caught it at the high point of the ball!” Then Brown very nearly made it a low point by letting that ball slip before a cleat had touched end zone grass, much less breaking-plan with pigskin. “Uhhhhhh…the replay,” Brown said, a bit abashed.

Fortunately no harm was done. And now there’s another photo grabbing all attention around Bulldog Country, with Brown and fellow wideout Jamoral Graham splashed on the cover of Sports Illustrated. It’s only the first time for an active State player to make the magazine’s cover, though Brown had to be first told and then look closely himself.

“I didn’t really know, I really couldn’t see my number at first! But somebody told me on twitter it was me and Smoky (Graham). I told my Mom, she’s probably got a copy at the house.” Probably so.

Now all Dogs must set aside the images and tune-out the applause from one game. Because another and larger one looms. This class of top-three teams and ancient SEC rivals is drawing all possible attention, making concentration difficult. It’s fun, sure, but still a challenge.

“Fans are hollering, everybody is saying your name, everybody wants to hug you. It’s a good experience,” Brown said. The experiences will be even better if Mississippi State takes care of business again on Scott Field.

“As the game gets bigger everybody knows all eyes are on us, and we have to work hard each and every day.”

Oh, and for Brown there is that one additional item to work on, per receivers Coach Billy Gonzales. “He just said make sure you have the ball crossing the goal line, just run to the back of the end zone before anything else happens!”

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