Faith in Prescott pays off with Bulldogs’ victory

Lauren Wood | Buy at photos.djournal.com MSU's Dak Prescott celebrates his touchdown in overtime.

Lauren Wood | Buy at photos.djournal.com
MSU’s Dak Prescott celebrates his touchdown in overtime.

By Logan Lowery

Daily Journal

STARKVILLE – Dak Prescott cemented his name in Egg Bowl lore on Thursday night.

The Mississippi State sophomore quarterback had missed the previous two games with a nerve injury to his left arm and had been ruled out by head coach Dan Mullen.

But Prescott was cleared to play just hours before kickoff and came off the bench in the fourth quarter to lead the Bulldogs to not only a 17-10 overtime win over rival Ole Miss but also to their fourth bowl game in as many years.

“This just gives us confidence going into a bowl game and going into next year,” Prescott said. “It just shows what we can do as a team as long as we believe in each other and stay behind one another. It’s a great thing for this university.”

Although Prescott had been medically cleared to play, Mullen was hesitant to play him choosing instead to go with true freshman Damian Williams in his first career start.

But down 10-7 after Williams had thrown an interception on the opening drive of the fourth quarter, Prescott made a plea to his coach to get on the field.

“After that turnover I got antsy and needed to get out there,” Prescott said. “I told coach Mullen I wanted to go and he trusted me and let me go.”

And go he did.

Prescott completed 11 of 20 passes for 115 yards and carried nine times for 29 yards despite only practicing a handful of times over the last month due to the injury and the loss of his mother Peggy to colon cancer on Nov. 3.

“I hadn’t gotten many reps but I felt good,” Prescott said. “I went through all the reps mentally and anytime I was at practice I’d go through all the looks. I’d get my mental reps in regardless and I think that helped out a lot.”

Mullen even entrusted his 6-foot-2, 230-pounder to get the job done facing 4th-and-2 from the 4-yard line in overtime. Prescott not only picked up the first down but manuevered his way into the end zone for the eventual game-winning score.

“Originally it was a pass or something like that,” Prescott said. “But it was just two yards and I told coach we’ve got Gabe (Jackson) up front and those O-linemen, just let me get behind them. I can get those two yards and get it and he said ‘let’s do it’.”

‘It’s been wild’

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of emotions for Prescott. From losing his mother, suffering a potentially career-ending injury to leading the comeback win in overtime in Thursday’s Egg Bowl left the Haughton, La., native appreciative of the support from the Bulldog fan base through it all.

“It’s been wild,” Prescott said. “There have been plenty of downs and plenty of ups. It was just an amazing atmosphere when I walked on to Davis Wade (Stadium) everybody screamed. That was just amazing that they had my back.”

logan.lowery@journalinc.com