What will K.J. Costello have in store for an encore vs. Arkansas?

BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA - SEPTEMBER 26: K.J. Costello #3 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA - SEPTEMBER 26: K.J. Costello #3 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

K.J. Costello will try to put together another standout performance against Arkansas.

After getting beat out by Davis Mills for the starting quarterback job at Stanford, K.J. Costello thought that the vest way to bump up his NFL stock was to join up with Mike Leach at Mississippi State, as he sent Luke Falk, Gardner Minshew and Anthony Gordon to the pros in three straight seasons on the back of insane college production.

With Leach making the move to the SEC, many would’ve made allowances for Costello struggling out of the gate, especially against the defending national champions in LSU. However, Costello gave us one of the most unexpected performances you’ll see all season long, as he set a new SEC record for passing yards in a game with 623 while throwing for five touchdowns in a 44-34 win.

Costello and the Bulldogs might be able to replicate that performance against Sam Pittman and Arkansas in Week 2.

Arkansas has a much better defense this season

This will be Costello’s second week playing a defensive coordinator in his first year with his new team. After roasting Bo Pelini last week, Costello will square off against Barry Odom, who took the Razorbacks defensive coordinator job after being let go by his alma mater in Missouri. While we only have one game to go off of, Odom appears to have whipped the Razorbacks into shape.

A 37-10 loss against Georgia might look bad, but Odom held the Bulldogs to five points in the first half as Arkansas entered the locker room with a win. Losing McTelvin Agim and De’Jon Harris to the NFL might make it more difficult for the Razorbacks to pressure the quarterback, but Arkansas’ new and improved run defense showed that they can stop even mighty Georgia from running between the tackles.

K.J. Costello and Mississippi State have more than enough weapons to beat Arkansas

Unfortunately for Odom and Arkansas, there is no matchup in the country in which run defense matters less than one against a Mike Leach Air Raid. Kylin Hill ran the ball just seven times for 34 yards, and he was still finding a way to contribute. As a receiver, Hill caught 8 passes for 158 yards and a touchdown, showing a new dimension to his game that was hidden under Joe Moorhead.

Between one of the best backs in the country in Hill, a 6-foot-5 weapon in wide receiver Osirus Mitchell and senior slit stud JaVonta Payton, they game a defense with NFL players on every level — a headache on every single drive. If they cut through LSU like a hot knife through butter, playing Arkansas’ lackluster pass rush and iffy secondary could make the Bulldogs even more productive.

Costello was expected to get pounded into the dirt in Baton Rouge, as making your first start in a Leach offense against the defending national champions on the road is about as difficult a first start as one could hope for. However, after Costello barely broke a sweat against the Bayou Bengals, look for the Razorbacks to offer even less resistance.

Next. 5 sneaky good games this week. dark