Bulldogs hoping to stay healthy

8TB6_MSU_primary_logoBY LOGAN LOWERY
DAILY JOURNAL

STARKVILLE – Mississippi State lost more last Saturday against Oklahoma State than the 21-3 score indicated.

The Bulldogs also saw four starters go down and not return to the field including senior quarterback Tyler Russell.

Sophomore Dak Prescott will likely make his first career start at quarterback as MSU hosts Alcorn State at 2:30 p.m. (TV:CSS).

Although Prescott is known more for his scrambling ability than Russell, head coach Dan Mullen does not plan to tweak his offensive game plan with Prescott behind center.

“We’ll just run our offense,” Mullen said. “Dak’s obviously going to run it with a little different flavor than Tyler runs it. He’s a little more athletic of a guy but schematically we’re not going to change a whole lot.”

Junior safety Jay Hughes was also lost for the season in week one with a ruptured Achilles tendon. Sophomore right guard Justin Malone (leg) is considered doubtful and junior cornerback Jamerson Love (ankle) is questionable for today’s game with the Braves.

It will be just the second meeting between the two Magnolia State programs with the Bulldogs winning 49-16 in Starkville in 2010. That day Mississippi State accumulated 566 yards of offense with Chad Bumphis contributing 133 yards receiving and two touchdowns while Vick Ballard rushed for 119 yards and two more scores.

Mullen is hoping his offense can produce similar results after a poor performance against Oklahoma State. The Bulldogs were just 2-of-16 on third down conversions and were kept out of the end zone for just the third time during his tenure.

“I think our guys are going to play with a chip on their shoulders because I don’t think they are pleased with a lot of things we did last week,” Mullen said.

MSU finished with 333 yards but just 111 on the ground and two turnovers.

Prescott completed 7 of 17 passes for 89 yards and an interception after taking over for Russell midway through the third quarter. Senior LaDarius Perkins added 50 yards on 16 carries while junior Jameon Lewis caught five passes for 55 yards.

A positive for the Bulldogs is that its defense contained a potent Oklahoma State passing attack allowing just 146 yards through the air.

Senior linebacker Deontae Skinner led Mississippi State’s defense tying a career-high 10 tackles.

Alcorn State comes into today’s game off a 63-12 home victory against Edward Waters. The Braves amassed 464 yards of offense and scored seven of its eight touchdowns on the ground.

ASU also forced four turnovers on defense, holding the NAIA opponent to just 234 yards of total offense.

logan.lowery@djournal.com