After each win, Logan Lowery of the Daily Journal recognizes several players and a coach that had outstanding performances and played a major role in Mississippi State’s victory. Check out who his offensive, defensive, special teams, freshman and coach of the week were from the Southern Miss game.
Running back Brandon Holloway
Junior *5-8* 160 * Tampa, Fla.
Rushing: seven carries for 51 yards Special Teams: one kickoff return for 100 yards, one touchdown
Logan’s take: I have been critical of Brandon Holloway running up the gut in the past but he was just the change of pace back that the Bulldogs needed on Saturday. Although small in size, Holloway has incredible speed which he showcased on the kickoff return. All he needs is a crease and he is off to the races.
Defensive end A.J. Jefferson
Junior * 6-3 * 277 * Summitt, Miss.
Defense: seven tackles (five solo, two assists), two tackles for loss, two sacks
Logan’s take: Richie Brown and Chris Jones also had solid games but I felt that A.J. Jefferson made the biggest impact off the edge. Jefferson did jump offsides on a third down but made up for the mistake with two sacks, one of which he ran straight through an attempted block by a USM running back and brought Nick Mullens down. It was just the type of performance MSU needed on a defensive line that is replacing three starters.
Linebacker Beniquez Brown
Junior * 6-1 * 238 * Florence, Ala.
Defense: four tackles (three solo, two assists) Special Teams: one blocked punt
Logan’s take: The Bulldogs had several key special teams plays including Holloway’s kickoff return for a touchdown and Westin Graves’ two made field goals. But Beniquez Brown also made a big impact blocking a Tyler Sarrazin punt which set up the offense at the 21-yard line and led to the go-ahead touchdown in the second quarter. It was the first time MSU has blocked a punt since Darius Slay against Jackson State in 2012.
Tight end Justin Johnson
True freshman * 6-3 * 229 * Birmingham, Ala.
Receiving: two catches for 17 yards, one touchdown
Logan’s take: It was quite the debut series for Justin Johnson. The former Hoover High School standout caught two passes on his first collegiate drive, the second of which went for a 5-yard go-ahead touchdown from Dak Prescott. Johnson is still learning the tight end position after playing wide receiver in high school but he is certainly off to a good start.
Bound Brook, N.J.
Logan’s take: Scott Sallach’s tight end group consisting of Johnson, Gus Walley and Darrion Hutcherson combined for six catches, 39 yards and two touchdowns. It was also a night of firsts with Walley making his first career start, Johnson playing in his first collegiate game and Hutcherson making his first career catch. Not bad for a unit replacing four players that were lost from last year.