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October 12, 2013

Bulldogs Survive with Depleted Roster, 21-20

MSU started their opening drive about as perfect as they could draw it up as Russell hit five different receivers for a 5-for-5 start and Ladarius Perkins capped the 75-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown over the top of the pile. It was his first touchdown of the season and MSU held the early 7-0 lead with 9:45 left in the first quarter.

MSU would give up a first down on the sideline with a pass on the first play but the Bulldogs got back-to-back broken up passes and a deep ball that fell to the ground with Justin Cox in coverage. State would take over after the punt from their own six yard line.

MSU moved the ball out to the 25 yard line on an 18-yard gain by Perkins but on the next play Dak Prescott would throw an interception on a pass into double coverage to Lewis. It was brought back to the 14 where MSU's defense would get the stop moving BGSU back to 17 where they would hit the 34-yard field goal and get on the board at 7-3with 5:36 remaining in the first.

Redemption would be sweet immediately as Prescott took the read with two backs in the backfield and raced through the secondary untouched for the 75-yard touchdown. It was his seventh rushing touchdown of the year and put him over the 500 yard mark. State was up 14-3 with 5:24 remaining in the first.

After a couple of first downs by Bowling Green, their drive would stall at midfield and they would down their punt at the one on a 49-yard punt. The Bulldogs began their drive with Russell. MSU rushed twice with Perkins for four yards and came into the second quarter facing third and six from the five. Russell kept the read option and ran up the middle for 10 yards to keep the drive alive. Russell would move the ball down the field getting to third place all-time with completions in the process. After getting inside BGSU territory, however, the Bulldogs would take a sack on third down and the drive died at the BGSU 45. Devon Bell had his first career punt fall inside the five for a 40-yarder and the Falcons took over.

The Bulldogs flushed the quarterback into the back of the endzone where he chunked the ball down the field on first down. Kivon Coman came down with the ball for the interception but was called for pass interference. The Falcons caught the big break and would capitalize with a six-play, 96-yard drive capped by a seven-yard run. The game was then a four point spread at 14-10 with 4:15 left in the half.

MSU followed that up with a long 10-play, 75-yard drive where they converted all three of their third downs and Prescott hit the endzone for the second time of the night on a 10-yard rush. Bowling Green drove quickly down the field as the Bulldogs missed tackles and coverage and kicked the 45-yard field goal as time expired to make the lead 21-13 for the Bulldogs.

At halftime, Prescott had rushed eight times for 107 yards and two touchdowns for his second-consecutive 100-yard performance. Russell was equally impressive but through the air going 10-11 for 95 yards.

Bowling Green started the second half from their own 25 and marched the ball down the field to the MSU 27 but the Bulldogs would stop them short of the first down on third and the 45-yard field goal went wide left. MSU took over for their first possession of the half.

Russell started the second half at quarterback. He would complete his first two passes for six yards and throw incomplete on third for a three and out. Bowling Green took over at their own 24. They would drive 76 yards on seven plays running it in on third and goal to get within a point of MSU as 21-20 with 3:57 left in the third.

MSU would continue its sloppy play driving the ball inside the 25 before a false start penalty put them in third and long and they threw an incompletion. Bell would hit the uprights and miss from 44 yards and BGSU was in business at their own 27. They would drive the ball down to the MSU 40 and the Bulldogs would step up to get a stop on third and fourth down to take over with 8:28 remaining.

Mississippi State would try to answer as Prescott hit Joe Morrow for 14 yards and 17 yards for first downs followed by three-straight runs that had MSU at the 11 yard line. The Bulldogs went with three straight carries that netted seven yards and would go for it on fourth and three from the eight. Prescott barreled down to the five but came up just short of the first and Bowling Green took over from the six.

The Bulldogs gave up a first down quickly but got three big stops in a row ending with a sack on third down. However, they were flagged for a facemask and BGSU had the first down at their own 46. State came back and stood tall with four-straight stops and took the ball over on downs and would hold on to win, 21-20.

MSU utilized its two quarterbacks well with Prescott rushing 15 times for a career-high 143 yards and two touchdowns and Russell passing 12-14 for 102 yards. The Bulldogs were led in tackles by Deontae Skinner and Benardrick McKinney who each had eight tackles.

Perkins had a season-high 16 carries and 83 yards with his first touchdown of the year and Morrow led all receivers with 57 yards and tied in receptions with four.


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