The Zach Arnett era in Starkville has had some bumps in the road, but Mississippi State is 4-3 after a defensive win against Arkansas. It took Arnett a while, but the Bulldogs finally earned their first SEC win of the season on Saturday.

It only took one touchdown for Mississippi State to beat Arkansas. The Bulldogs scored in the second quarter and held the Razorback offense to three points for the final two quarters. Both offenses barely got to the 200-yard mark. It wasn’t pretty, but Arnett has the team above .500.

There are four games until the Egg Bowl with Ole Miss to end the regular season. The question will be if the offense can perform at the same level it has with Will Rogers nursing a shoulder injury from the Western Michigan game.

With five games in total left to play, Arnett could still lead Mississippi State to a bowl game appearance if all goes well.

Here’s how the rest of the season could go for Arnett and the Bulldogs on their quest for bowl eligibility:

Week 9: at Auburn

Hugh Freeze is one of the only coaches in the conference that is still searching for that elusive first SEC win. The Tigers have historically taken care of the Bulldogs, but Mississippi State has won the last two games.

The offense could get right against Auburn after a frustrating offensive showing against Arkansas.

After a brutal stretch with the likes of Texas A&M, Georgia, LSU and Ole Miss the Tigers return home. The four-game losing streak most likely will move to five come Saturday.

Despite Auburn nearly pulling off the upset against Georgia earlier in the season, it won’t affect this game too much. Jordan-Hare Stadium is not the hostile environment that it once was.

Mississippi State is going to increase its winning streak over Auburn to three games with either Mike Wright or Rogers at quarterback.

Prediction: Mississippi State 24, Auburn 20

Week 10: vs. Kentucky

Auburn and Kentucky are not the same team. This game being in Starkville will help Mississippi State, but Rogers may be needed in order to help beat the Wildcats.

Kentucky’s secondary could be a problem that the Bulldogs take advantage of. The Wildcats are allowing 250.9 yards passing per game (11th SEC).

Having a healthy Rogers under center could do Mississippi State a lot of favors. Look for Mississippi State to win a tightly contested game at home against the Wildcats thanks to a rested Rogers.

Prediction: Mississippi State 28, Kentucky 24

Week 11: at Texas A&M

Mississippi State is back on the road again following the showdown with Kentucky. The Texas A&M defense is one of the best in the conference. The Aggies are in the top five among SEC schools in passing defense (172.7 ypg) and run defense (105.1 ypg).

This game being in College Station doesn’t give much hope that Mississippi State can win it either. Expect both teams to fight tooth and nail, but the Aggies to come out on top.

The Bulldogs had a lopsided win against Texas A&M last season, but Mississippi State’s two-game winning streak over Jimbo Fisher will come to an end on Nov. 11. This game will come down to one final drive where Texas A&M pulls out the win in a close one.

Prediction: Texas A&M 20, Mississippi State 17

Week 12: vs. Southern Miss

The Southern Miss Golden Eagles are giving a meaning to the word bad this season. Mississippi State should cruise to an easy victory against Southern Miss to practice for the Egg Bowl.

The last time that these two teams played was in 2019 and Mississippi State won 38-15. The Golden Eagles reached a bowl game last year, but it would be unwise to expect them to turn things around to reach one this season.

The one weakness in the defense for Southern Miss is stopping the run. The Golden Eagles allow the most rushing yards per game in the Sun Belt at 202.3. Jo’Quavious Marks should have a field day in Starkville during that game.

Barring an incredible upset from Southern Miss, Mississippi State should handle this game pretty easily. Arnett will coach his team to a win by multiple scores and take out any anger left over from the Texas A&M loss.

Prediction: Mississippi State 35, Southern Miss 13

Week 13: vs. Ole Miss

With a bowl game secured for Arnett, the Bulldogs will put some state pride on the line ending the regular season in the annual Egg Bowl game.

The Rebels will be the third and final ranked team on the schedule for Mississippi State. While rivalry games can be tough to call since both sides are always going to be fired up coming to the action, Ole Miss is likely to win this game in the end.

The environment alone will make this game. Ole Miss will need a last-minute drive in the fourth quarter to advance past its in-state rivals at Mississippi State.

Lane Kiffin’s offense marches down the field and kicks a game-winning field goal as time expires. The transition from Mike Leach to Arnett in Starkville has not been an easy one, but the team is still capable of reaching a bowl.

Prediction: Ole Miss 31, Mississippi State 28

Mississippi State final record prediction: 7-5