Mississippi State (3-0) defeated South Alabama (1-1) 35-3 Saturday in the first road game of the 2014 season for the Bulldogs and the first home sellout in Jaguars history.
“We did the things we needed to do to get a win in a hostile environment on the road,” head coach Dan Mullen said.
MSU out-gained USA offensively 514 yards to 345, largely on the back of junior quarterback Dak Prescott. MSU’s signal caller completed 13-of-21 passes for 201 yards and one touchdown, while he also racked up a team-high 139 yards on the ground for another score and caught one pass for 39 yards and a touchdown. It’s the second time in his career Prescott has scored three ways in the same game.
On defensive, it was back-to-back SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week Preston Smith who led the way. The senior defensive end registered two sacks, a forced fumble, a blocked field goal and a quarterback hurry.
“That's what we talk about every day,” sophomore linebacker Beniquez Brown said. “Create mayhem. Do things to help our offense get in good position.”
The game started slow, with only one score in the first quarter – a 15-yard touchdown pass from Prescott to senior tight end Malcolm Johnson. But midway through the second quarter, the Bulldogs broke through, scoring 21 points in under seven minutes, as well as recording their first interception of the game when junior Will Redmond came down with a pick.
“It was huge,” Mullen said of the second-quarter stretch. “That was huge for us.”
The highlight of that first-half run came at the 4:27 mark of the second quarter when senior receiver Jameon Lewis (100 total yards and one touchdown) executed a throwback pass to Prescott on the opposite sideline, which Prescott took 24 yards downfield for a score.
Beyond his various means of scoring, Mullen was particularly proud of his quarterback for his effectiveness in the running game, including his 40-yard touchdown scamper in the second half.
“Dak really did a great job improvising in the offense,” Mullen said after the game.
Elsewhere, the Bulldogs got big performances from juniors Josh Robinson and Benardrick McKinney.
Robinson’s two-yard touchdown run started MSU’s streak of 28 unanswered points, as he tallied 77 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries. He also caught one pass for 39 yards.
“I thought he did well,” Mullen said. “The catch and the long run early was huge for us.”
McKinney tied for a game-high five tackles, while also registering 1.5 tackles for loss, a fumble recovery and two pass break-ups.
MSU next opens Southeastern Conference play on Saturday, Sept. 20, at LSU. The game will be televised by ESPN and kickoff is set for 6 p.m. at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge..