HOUSTON – A couple of key starters were hurt in MSU’s win over Houston, and one of them likely won’t be back for a while.
Senior receiver Leon Berry broke his leg on the second half’s opening kickoff. It wasn’t immediately known how long he would be out.
Berry had no catches Saturday. He has eight catches for 188 yards and a touchdown on the season and is the only senior in MSU’s receiving corps. He entered the game averaging 28.3 yards per kickoff return, fourth in the SEC.
In the first quarter, center J.C. Brignone went down with a sprained left knee, but the offense didn’t skip a beat.
Brignone, a senior and third-year starter, was hurt when another player landed on the back of his leg on a running play. He was done for the night and will be reevaluated in Starkville.
Starting right guard Quentin Saulsberry, a junior, slid over while redshirt freshman Tobias Smith took over the guard spot. MSU kept right on chugging, finishing up an 13-play, 84-yard drive and going ahead 21-7 on Ballard’s 12-yard run.
This was Saulsberry’s first career action at center. In the offseason, Saulsberry overtook D.J. Looney, Brignone’s backup last year.
n Leading 14-7, MSU grinded out a 13-play, 84-yard drive capped by Ballard’s 12-yard scoring run. That firmly put the Bulldogs in command.
n Four – Consecutive possessions on which MSU scored in the first half after falling behind 7-0. The Bulldogs also got a safety during that span to help open up a 26-7 lead in the second quarter.
n MSU is on the road again, visiting coach Dan Mullen’s old stomping grounds at Florida. It’ll be his first time inside Ben Hill Griffin, a.k.a. The Swamp, since he left his offensive coordinator’s post there following the 2008 season to take the State job.
The Gators (4-2, 2-2 SEC) lost a heartbreaker on Saturday night to LSU.
n MSU has eclipsed the 40-point mark three times this fall, the first time that’s happened since the 2000 season. … Cornerback Corey Broomfield’s 27-yard interception return for touchdown was the third of his career. The sophomore had two last year, against Jackson State and Ole Miss. … Sophomore Shane McCardell, who moved from defensive end to wide receiver in the preseason, moved back to end the past week because of depth issues and played some snaps there Saturday. … Houston blocked two field goals, both in the second half.
BRAD LOCKE / NEMS Daily Journal