MSU INSIDER: Prescott delivers in zone

By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal

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STARKVILLE – Dak Prescott has become Mississippi State’s go-to guy in the red zone.
The backup quarterback came through again in Saturday’s 45-14 win over Arkansas, scoring on a 4-yard run in the third quarter to give MSU a 24-14 lead.
After being stopped just short on a third-down run, Prescott and the Bulldogs gathered on the sidelines during a timeout. Players were given the option between two plays – one for Prescott, one for starting QB Tyler Russell.
“Tyler actually told them to call the play, put Dak in, Dak would get it,” Prescott said. “That’s a lot coming from that guy. He’s like a big brother.”
On the season, Prescott has rushed for four touchdowns and passed for three more. That sort of balance makes him tough to scheme against when MSU gets near the goal line.
“We’ve showed a little bit of my power fake to the pass. Now they can’t just load up the box and come at me,” he said. “They’ve got to be ready for the pass as well.”

In his wheelhouse
Tailback LaDarius Perkins had touchdown catches of 13 and 24 yards, both of them on wheel routes out of the backfield, down the right sideline. That route has become a staple for the junior.
“It’s something we saw on film, that you have an opportunity to get them in some man coverage,” MSU coach Dan Mullen said.
It was a matter of QBTyler Russell making the right read.
“If the ’backer came underneath the dragger, then I go to Perk,” Russell said. “If he goes over the top, then I go back side. And both times he came underneath, so I gave Perk a chance.”

Key drive
MSU was leading 24-14 when it came up with an Arkansas fumble in the third quarter. Two plays later, Russell hitting Perkins for a 24-yard score.

Key number
1 – Arkansas only reached the red zone once, scoring a touchdown in the second quarter. After that, Arkansas only crossed midfield once.

Quotable
“The energy, the fan base, gotta tip our hat to them. The whole stadium went wild. That was kind of a turning point when we got rolling, and once we got rolling we couldn’t be stopped.” – MSU linebacker Cam Lawrence, on a big fourth-down stop in the third quarter

Next weekend
MSU closes out the regular season with a trip to Oxford to play Ole Miss (5-6, 2-5 SEC), which lost 41-35 at LSU on Saturday. The Bulldogs have won three in a row in the series.

Bulldog bites
For the first time since 1999, MSU had back-to-back 300-yard passing games. … MSU had a school-record 389,354 fans in seven home games. … Tailback Nick Griffin’s 60-yard TD run in the fourth quarter was a career long. … End Preston Smith had 1.5 tackles-for-loss, a sack and a forced fumble. … MSU rushed for 203 yards, 11 more than it did the previous three games combined.
brad.locke@journalinc.com