By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
TROY, Ala. – Chad Bumphis might want to start calling himself Big-Play Bump.
The Mississippi State senior had a career-high 180 yards on six catches and had touchdown receptions of 72, 58 and 25 yards in Saturday’s 30-24 win over Troy.
It marked the first time in Bumphis’ career he’s had two catches of 50-plus yards in a game. He has seven such catches for his career.
The Tupelo native is the second Bulldog receiver to have three touchdown catches in a game, the other being Sammy Milner in 1969.
Oh, and he’s now tied with Eric Moulds and Justin Jenkins for most TD receptions in school history, with 17.
“Pretty exciting. I’m excited,” Bumphis said. “I didn’t do it all by myself, though. You’ve got to give a lot of credit to the quarterbacks.”
For the season, he has 236 yards and five touchdowns on 10 catches. He’s the first MSU receiver to catch a TD pass in three straight games since Tony Burks in 2006.
Bumphis’ third TD was a 25-yarder to give MSU a 30-21 lead. On a fourth-and-5, Tyler Russell rolled left, saw Bumphis slip behind the safety, and lobbed it into the back of the end zone.
Bumphis made the catch and managed to get a foot down. A replay review confirmed the score.
Head coach Dan Mullen said he was expecting Russell to dump it short to Chris Smith.
“You kind of read it out,” MSU offensive coordinator Les Koenning said of the play call. “I think Tyler went out and the corner kind of baited him. It was about where if he’d thrown it to Chris, it would’ve been a smash-boom type of catch. He got off of him, and he had confidence, and Chad made the play.”
In the corner
Bumphis said he ran a corner route and knew he had a chance when he saw the coverage.
“It was more like a two coverage, and the corner sat down on Chris, so I had to win against just a safety,” Bumphis said.
In the second quarter, he helped MSU build a 23-7 halftime lead with two long catches. On the 72-yarder, he took a screen pass and raced downfield behind some solid blocking.
On the 58-yarder, Bumphis caught it in stride between the hashes downfield.
Bumphis has had big games before against non-SEC teams. Now he’s hoping to be this productive against league foes.
“I was talking to (cornerback Johnthan) Banks, and he was saying that his biggest games come against SEC teams,” he said, “and he told me to match him. So we’re going to see how it goes.”