BY LOGAN LOWERY
STARKVILLE – Alcorn State began Saturday’s game with two first downs on the opening drive before tossing an interception.
The Braves would not move the chains again until the fourth quarter, as Mississippi State dominated its in-state opponent 51-7 in the home opener at Davis Wade Stadium.
“I thought our guys came out and played hard today right from the opening whistle all the way until the end,” said MSU coach Dan Mullen. “We talked about needing more effort in the game today and I thought we got that for four quarters.”
The Bulldogs (1-1) rolled up 556 yards on offense with a balanced attack – 279 yards passing and 277 on the ground. Sophomore Dak Prescott completed 12-of-19 passing for 174 yards, two touchdowns and ran for another in his first career start.
“We just got into a rhythm and got comfortable,” Prescott said. “Everybody did a good job and did their one-eleventh out there. It felt good to get into a rhythm as an offense and score some points.”
Neither quarterback Tyler Russell or running back LaDarius Perkins dressed out for the game. Perkins is expected back for next week’s game against Auburn while Russell remains day-to-day with a concussion.
Eight players recorded carries for MSU while 13 receivers caught passes. A pair of true freshmen led in each category with Ashton Shumpert picking up 98 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries while Fred Ross hauled in three passes for 46 yards.
Shumpert (Fulton) scored on the first drive of his career on a 1-yard run in the second quarter and added another 1-yard scoring scamper in the third.
“I didn’t know if I was going to play one snap or however many I played,” Shumpert said. “I just tried to get as many yards as I could on every carry.”
The Bulldogs had built a 37-0 lead by halftime holding Alcorn State to just 30 yards on 30 plays.
Following a Deontae Skinner interception on the opening drive, Prescott went to work on offense guiding Mississippi State into the end zone for the first time this season with an 11-yard run.
Derrick Milton scored on a 3-yard run to close out the first quarter and caught a 14-yard pass from Prescott to open up the second putting the Bulldogs ahead 21-0.
Prescott’s final touchdown before turning things over to true freshman Damian Williams in the second half was a 31-yard toss to Jameon Lewis.
Brandon Holloway began the second half with a bang taking the opening kickoff 95-yards down to the 1-yard line where Shumpert punched it in.
Nick Griffin added the final score on a 10-yard run with five minutes remaining in the game.
Alcorn State (1-1) finished with 163 yards on the day with only 28 yards rushing.
The Braves’ lone score came late in the third quarter on a 25-yard pass from John Gibbs, Jr. to Tollette George.
Skinner led the Bulldogs with five tackles and an interception. Curtis Virges added a sack while Teveze Calhoun and Kivon Coman recovered fumbles.