By Logan Lowery
STARKVILLE – Mississippi State got all it wanted from Bowling Green on homecoming Saturday night.
The Bulldogs were shut out in the second half but survived the scare and escaped with a 21-20 win over the Falcons.
“We finished with a win, and to me that’s the most important part,” said MSU coach Dan Mullen.
MSU evened its record at 3-3 with a bye week upcoming. The Bulldogs were missing several starters, including left tackle Blaine Clausell, defensive end Preston Smith and Jamerson Love due to injures sustained against LSU last week.
State generated 422 yards on the evening including 245 on the ground. Dak Prescott rushed for a career-high 139 yards and two touchdowns.
Tyler Russell completed 12 of 14 passes for 102 yards including a 10 of 11 first half. Joe Morrow led the Bulldog receivers with four catches for 57 yards.
Russell began the game at quarterback for Mississippi State and led the Bulldogs into the end zone on the nine-play, 75-yard opening drive. Russell hit on all five passes on the setting up LaDarius Perkins’ 1-yard touchdown dive over the top.
Prescott took over as signal caller on the second series but threw an interception to BooBoo Gates that was returned to the MSU 13-yard line. The Bulldogs were able to hold Bowling Green to a 35-yard field goal from Tyler Tate.
Prescott redeemed himself on the next play from scrimmage, busting loose for a 75-yard touchdown run pushing the Bulldogs ahead 14-3.
The Falcons would tighten things back up in the second quarter. Bowling Green marched 96-yards in six plays and scored on a 7-yard touchdown run by Andre Givens.
Prescott would find the end zone once again before the half crossing the goal line from 10-yards out to take a 21-10 lead with just over a minute to go.
But it was enough time for the Falcons to add a 45-yard field goal from Tate heading into the locker room.
Tate missed a 45-yarder to start the second half but Bowling Green would pull to within a point later in the third quarter on a 2-yard scoring keeper by Matt Johnson.
MSU had a chance to answer early in the fourth quarter but Devon Bell’s 44-yard field goal attempt clanked off the right upright.
The Bulldogs had another chance to add to its total with 4:27 remaining facing 4th-and-3 from the BGSU 8-yard line. But instead of taking a 25-yard field goal attempt, Mullen elected to run for the first and Prescott was stopped inches short.
“I put the ball in Dak’s hands,” Mullen said. “I thought he was running the ball pretty well. I thought that was a pretty good opportunity for us to try and finish off the game.”
Bowling Green finished with 384 yards falling to 5-2 on the year.
Johnson connected on 20 of 34 passing for 224 yards for the Falcons while Travis Green carried 15 times for 99 yards. Jared Cohen made five catches for 51 yards while Ryan Burbrink had four grabs for 66 yards.