Mississippi State had significant playmakers in all 3 phases of the game this season.

The passing game accumulated a ton of yards and a lot of points and mostly was the lynchpin for the Bulldogs’ success.

The defense generally played well and came up with a bunch of turnovers, led by Emmanuel Forbes’ 6 interceptions.

The return game was dynamic, led by Lideatrick Griffin on kickoffs and Zavion Thomas on punts.

In the end, State finished the regular season with an 8-4 overall record, including a 4-4 mark in the SEC.

The team’s final grades for the 2022 season will be determined after it plays Illinois in the ReliaQuest Bowl on Jan. 2 in Tampa.

In the meantime, here’s a grade for every position group after the regular season:

Quarterback: B+

Will Rogers continued to consistently break significant records. He mostly made good decisions at the line of scrimmage in determining which play to run.

He also utilized a variety of options and generally made wise decisions on where to direct the ball and delivered it with accuracy.

He was effective in operating the 2-minute offense and producing valuable points with little time to work with.

Rogers rarely made careless throws but occasionally lost the ball on fumbles.

Running back: B+

Jo’quavious Marks and Dillon Johnson formed one of the better tandems in the SEC.

Both were effective running the ball, both were effective catching passes, and both were effective as pass blockers.

The modest rushing statistics don’t fairly reflect the performances of the primary running backs.

Wide receiver: B-

Head coach Mike Leach often lamented the fact that no one stepped forward and seized the role of clear-cut No. 1 receiver. He also periodically questioned the overall toughness of the group.

Though inconsistency was a feature of the group, it still was very productive and a big part of the team’s success, led by Caleb Ducking, Rara Thomas, Rufus Harvey, Austin Williams and Griffin.

Offensive line: C+

The line began the season with a lot of experience, but also with a lot of adjusting to do.

The starters had played a whole bunch of snaps, but only 1 lineman was starting at the same position he started at the previous season.

Like much of the team, the offensive line endured some growing pains but on balance did more good than bad.

The improved running game and the passing game that thrived in most of the victories could not have done so without the line contributing significantly.

Defensive line: C+

The line wasn’t in the spotlight as much as the linebackers or the defensive backs were, but the success that the defense had was primarily due to the effective fit between the 3 groups.

And the front had its most impressive performance in the 24-22 victory against Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl on Thanksgiving night in Oxford.

Linebacker: A-

The glue that held the defense together was a really good group of linebackers.

Tyrus Wheat, Nathaniel Watson and Jett Johnson all had big seasons, contributing both against the run and pass, pressuring in the backfield and periodically defending in pass coverage as well.

Defensive back: A-

Forbes’ interceptions and scores naturally drew the most attention, but he had plenty of help in the secondary.

The Bulldogs led the SEC in interceptions, but they also were consistently effective in covering and breaking up passes even when they didn’t take the ball away.

Specialists: B

The return game was one of the best in the SEC and elevated a kicking game that wasn’t as good.

Griffin’s kickoff return for a touchdown and Thomas’ punt return for a touchdown obviously stood out, but the consistency was even more important because it routinely boosted State’s field position.