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September 21, 2013

Offensive explosion leads to 62-7 win over Troy





Mississippi State played possibly their most complete game under Dan Mullen destroying Troy, 62-7 in front of an announced 55,096 at Davis Wade Stadium on Saturday night. Dak Prescott and Jameon Lewis both completed a feat that is rare for one player in football much less two. Each player threw, rushed and ran for a touchdown in the rout as the Bulldogs (2-2) piled up 551 yards while giving up just 186 to Troy's vaunted offensive attack. MSU scored 52 unanswered points after a 10-7 lead in the first quarter and backups saw plenty of playing time.

Troy started their opening possession on their own 25 and only a personal foul late hit on Nickoe Whitley would get anything positive for the Trojans. On their second third-down attempt, Corey Robinson through a pass across the middle that cornerback Jamerson Love intercepted and took untouched for six points on a 70-yard return. It was the second-career interception by Love, his first-career pick-six and the return was tied for the 12th-longest in school history. MSU took the early 7-0 lead with 13 minutes remaining in the first.

Troy then got the offense moving a bit on their second drive getting the ball inside the 10 yard line before the Bulldogs forced a third and goal. Robinson was replaced with the backup Deon Anthony who was rushed hard by the Bulldog defense and sacked by linebacker Matthew Wells. Benardrick McKinney scooped up the fumble and the Bulldogs forced their second turnover in as many drives.

Mississippi State would manufacture a long drive following moving the football down the field through the air with a couple of catches from true freshman Fred Ross for 25 yards. The Bulldogs got inside the 10-yard line but would stall and Devon Bell would kick the 25-yard field goal good for a 10-0 lead with 3:08 remaining in the first.

Troy would come out and move the ball at ease once again but would finish this time for six points. With Robinson working every play at quarterback this time, the Trojans went 65 yards in nine plays capping it off with a five-yard touchdown pass to Eric Thomas. Troy got within three at 10-7 with six seconds remaining in the first quarter.

MSU answered quickly. Facing a third down and 10, Prescott found a wide open Brandon Hill across the middle of the field for 38 yards and a first down. The very next play, Jameon Lewis caught a pass behind the line and threw to a wide open Prescott who turned it into six points on a 36-yard reception. MSU would take the 10 point lead at 17-7 with just under 14 minutes remaining.

The defense held for the first three-and-out of the game and Troy tried to execute the fake punt that failed giving MSU great field position at the 22. One play later, Prescott was in the endzone for another six points and a 24-7 lead with 11:55 remaining in the first half. It was Prescott's fourth rushing touchdown of the season.

The Bulldogs forced another stop and started from their own 24. Prescott took a shot down the field to a wide open Joe Morrow streaking down the sidelines but he dropped the pass. That didn't stop the Bulldogs from taking a shot again on the very next play were Prescott hit Lewis for 46 yards. Two plays later, Prescott was in the endzone for the third time of the day and second consecutive rushing touchdown. MSU took the 31-7 lead with 8:08 left in the half.

State got another stop and started another drive inside their own territory. They would use a nice balance of rushing and passing and cap off the drive with a 19-yard touchdown run from Josh Robinson who showed nifty footwork and solid balance. MSU would stretch their lead out to 38-7 in the second.

After yet another stop, MSU came out aggressively looking for points and took the drive 61 yards on three plays with a 50-yard touchdown pass on the bubble screen from Prescott to Lewis returning the favor that was vice-versa earlier in the quarter. State took the 45-7 lead into the locker room for the most points scored in a half under Mullen and most points since 1946. 45 points are the second-most points scored in a half in school history.

Prescott put on one of the more memorable displays in one half in recent memory. The sophomore had 296 all-purpose yards (207 passing, 53 rushing and 36 receiving. With four total touchdowns. After MSU was outgained 133 yards to 66 in the first quarter, they outgained Troy 349-183 for the half.

State started the half with Prescott still under center and Dillon Day on the field for the first time of the night after Dillon Holley started the ball game. MSU started from their own 25 yard line and drove the ball down the field for another touchdown. Lewis took the option pitch from Prescott on first and goal and got in the endzone from eight yards out. MSU would take the lead out to 52-7 with 10:28 remaining in the third.

MSU stopped the Trojans on their opening possession of the second half and true freshman Damian Williams took over under center. The Bulldogs would miss points on the board for the first time of the night as Bell missed from 30 yards. State forced another stop and started the final quarter from their own 41. The Bulldogs drove the ball inside the 10 yard line and stalled once again but connected with a 24-yard field goal from [db]Evan Sobiesk and MSU took the 55-7 lead with 11:29 remaining in the ball game.

MSU got one more touchdown on the board with an eight-play 56-yard drive capped by a Derrick Milton six-yard touchdown. State had the lead at 62-7 with 4:47 left in the game. It was the most points under Mullen and the most points since State scored 66 against Tulane in 1994.

MSU gave up 133 yards in the first quarter. Over the next three quarters, they gave up a total of 53 yards as Troy was held well below their 547 yard average. Troy also averaged 367 passing yards in the first three games but managed just 139. Robinson's 105 passing yards on 15-25 was the lowest output of his career. MSU's defense has given up a total of 197 yards rushing in the past three games combined after giving up 286 to Oklahoma State. Troy managed just 47 yards on the ground, the second MSU opponent held under 50 yards rushing this season (Alcorn, 28).

The Bulldogs saw a first-career start from center Dylan Holley with Day suspended the first half by Mullen for a personal foul that occurred against Auburn. MSU also had Chris Jones starting at defensive tackle for P.J. Jones where he recorded three tackles and one for loss. Cornerback Taveze Calhoun dressed out for MSU but did not play with Cedric Jiles starting in his place. Jiles got three tackles in the game.


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