MEMPHIS – Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott was named the 2013 Liberty Bowl Most Valuable Player following his five-touchdown performance.
Prescott’s touchdown total established a Liberty Bowl record in his first start since Nov. 2 against South Carolina.
The sophomore connected on 17 of 28 passes for 283 yards and a career-high three touchdowns. Prescott also finished as the Bulldogs leading rusher with 78 yards on 14 carries and two more scores.
“The coaches set a good game plan up for us to execute and it worked just as they planned,” Prescott said. “(Rice) had two very good cornerbacks so we just tried to attack the middle of their secondary. Jameon (Lewis) was able to get the ball and make some good moves on their safeties and our guys were getting open.”
Prescott’s three touchdown passes in the first half tied Chris Relf (2011 Gator Bowl vs. Michigan) for the most for MSU in a bowl game. He finished the year with 829 yards rushing, the most ever by a Bulldog quarterback.
Lewis was named MSU’s offensive MVP while junior defensive end Preston Smith was awarded the defensive MVP.
Most bowl victories
State won its third bowl game in Dan Mullen’s tenure giving the fifth-year head coach the most bowl victories in school history.
Mullen has taken the Bulldogs to four consecutive bowls and passes Jackie Sherrill in bowl wins. Sherrill guided Mississippi State to six bowls in his 13 seasons in Starkville going 2-4 in those contests.
Mullen’s .750 winning percentage is the best in the program’s history for any coach to appear in multiple bowls.
After falling behind 7-0, the Bulldogs responded with a 10-play, 73 yard touchdown to tie things up. Prescott connected with LaDarius Perkins on a 10-yard scoring strike starting string of 44 unanswered points.
Key number: 37
The 37 point margin of victory is the largest in Liberty Bowl history. The previous record was 34 by Southern Miss over Pittsburgh in 1997.
“I got defensive MVP in the game and my first-born child was born earlier this morning. So this day will always mean a lot to me.” – MSU junior defensive end <b>Preston Smith</b>, whose daughter, Lauren Marie, was born on Tuesday.
MSU opens the 2014 season at home against Southern Miss on Aug. 30. It will also be the debut of the newly renovated Davis Wade Stadium.
DE Preston Smith led MSU with six tackles…Ryan Brown, Benardrick McKinney, Denico Autry and A.J. Jefferson all had sacks. … LB Matthew Wells recovered a fumble. … MSU is now 10-7 all-time in bowl games, having won six of the last seven. …The Bulldogs are now 3-1 in the Liberty Bowl. … MSU tied the Liberty Bowl record with six touchdowns. … State set the single-season school record by averaging 434.4 yards per game.