By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
MSU gained a season-high 457 yards and got some big plays in the passing game to put points on the board. A lot of those points came off turnovers, of which Troy had four.
LaDarius Perkins led a strong rushing attack with a career-high 179 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries.
It was the road opener for State, and while it was neither easy nor pretty, it was a win. The Bulldogs are 3-0 for the first time in 13 years.
Troy gashed MSU for 572 yards, the most allowed by second-year defensive coordinator Chris Wilson. The Trojans had their way in both the passing and running games, and their hurry-up style kept the Bulldogs on their heels.
MSU had no sacks and missed on a lot of tackles.
Offensively, there were at least seven dropped passes by coach Dan Mullen’s count, and two or three of them could have gone for touchdowns.
Keys to victory
Evaluating the keys to victory in Saturday’s GameDay section:
1. Maintain focus, energy: Mullen cited a lack of focus as the reason for the missed tackles and drops. The Bulldogs didn’t always look as aggressive as their first two games. This was something coaches and players were guarding against coming off a big win over Auburn the previous weekend.
The energy level seemed strong, and State found the will to close out the game late.
2. Contain passing game: A week after setting several school records, Troy QB Corey Robinson was 32 of 45 for 343 yards. He took what MSU was giving him with several short passes, but he did have some success down the field, too.
He also was intercepted twice by Darius Slay, and those proved to be critical turnovers.
3. Dominate up front: MSU’s vaunted defensive line and linebackers were both full of holes, as Shawn Southward rushed for 137 yards and two touchdowns, and Justin Albert added 52 yards and a 31-yard TD run.
On the other side, though, MSU opened up huge running lanes for Perkins and did a solid job of protecting quarterback Tyler Russell.
Chad Bumphis: The senior receiver from Tupelo had a career-high 180 yards on six catches with three touchdowns. His 25-yard score – on a fourth-and-5 play – gave MSU a 30-21 cushion with 7 minutes left.
It was not an inspiring win for MSU, and there is plenty to be concerned about, especially on defense. But the Bulldogs continued to get takeaways – it has 12 on the year now, tied for the nation’s lead – and the offense responded when it needed to.