In Mississippi State University’s 56-10 win over the University of Louisiana Lafayette, Keith Mixon Jr., a junior wide receiver from Birmingham, Alabama, had 80 receiving yards. This nearly matched his career high from last year’s game against LSU, marking his overcoming of obstacles due to a previous ankle injury.
“I went from starting to third string. To come back and have a game like I was last year was big for me because I know this injury,” Mixon said. “Most people didn’t think that I would make a return so I’m just trying to leave it all on the field.”
Nick Fitzgerald, a senior quarterback from Richmond Hill, Georgia, also had a recent ankle injury, putting him and Mixon in the recovery process together.
“We were both in the training room forever together, so you know, just pushing each other through,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s long, monotonous, boring stuff to rehab an ankle. Me and him can both attest to that, but you know we both attacked it and I think we’re both back, doing what we love and making some plays.”
Mixon’s injury proved to be a difficult situation which has improved over time due to diligent training and rehab. Mixon said he has spent many late nights and early mornings training in order to help the recovery process and is happy to be back on the field.
“I feel like I’ve been through the worst,” Mixon said. “People were telling me, ‘It’s over with’ people back at home, ‘like, ‘Man, it ain’t looking too good for you.’ So for me, to be back out tonight making plays, it’s a great feeling for me.”
Mixon and Fitzgerald proved themselves ready to play after showing how far they have both come with their ankle injuries. Fitzgerald said it was good to see Mixon back out on the field making big plays.
“It was huge, you know sometimes my ankle hurts me, sometimes his ankle still hurts him, kinda push through that,” Fitzgerald said. “He (Mixon) came out and had a stellar night, so that was huge.”
With such profound progress and improvement with this injury, Mixon gave advice for others who may be in a similar situation.
“Whatever you do, don’t give up. You’ll have good days and bad days, probably more bad than good, just stayed prayed up,” Mixon said. “I feel like everything happened for a reason.”
The upcoming game against the University of Kentucky is looking hopeful for MSU, especially with the apparent recoveries seen in the team’s offense. Fitzgerald gave insight into what fans can expect in Saturday’s game.
“We expect to go out there, play a great game and get a big road win,” Fitzgerald said. “They’re a great team, undefeated, playing really well, so we have a lot of preparing to do.”
Fitzgerald threw for two touchdowns and ran for four, gaining 243 yards through the air and 123 yards on the ground. Mixon had a touchdown and 80 yards off of four receptions. Both are looking strong going into Kentucky (3-0) as MSU (3-0) will look to build off their success.
Kick off for this game is at 6:00 p.m. Sept. 22 at Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky. ESP2 will broadcast the game.