Serving as a metaphor for the situation Mississippi State found itself in Saturday night at Sanford Stadium, Will Rogers stood in the end zone during pregame warmups all by himself.
Not a soul around.
The word “BULLDOGS” was painted in big, bold letters beneath his cleats, but it wasn’t a welcoming sign for the freshman quarterback who represents a school with the same mascot.
Rather, it was a reminder that the environment in which he tossed balls to a member of the MSU staff before any of his teammates emerged from the locker room could have easily been a lonely, life-sucking one for the next few hours.
There wasn’t going to be the usual number of reinforcements accompanying him, after all. Mississippi State made the trip to Athens with far fewer players than normal because of COVID-19 positive tests within the program and subsequent contact tracing quarantines. Only 49 scholarship players were there.