By Logan Lowery
STARKVILLE – Mississippi State’s Tyler Russell and Dak Prescott have alternated at quarterback most of the season – whenever Russell has been healthy enough for action.
The Bulldogs have rotated its signal callers in four games this fall, with wins over Bowling Green and Kentucky and losses to LSU and Texas A&M.
Russell missed four full games due to a concussion and an ankle injury as well as parts of two other contests. Prescott was forced to leave Saturday’s game late in the fourth quarter after injuring his left shoulder and did not return.
Having two capable quarterbacks with starting experience is something MSU coach Dan Mullen has used to his advantage.
“You want to have two quarterbacks that are ready to play,” Mullen said. “You saw that the other night. Dak gets banged up but Tyler had played a bunch and was in the flow of the game and on the second play bangs out a touchdown pass. He was ready to go at the drop of a hat. Same thing when Tyler starts the game and we put Dak in the game and on the first play we score a touchdown. It’s a pretty good safety net to have.”
Sophomore Devon Bell lost his placekicking job to Evan Sobiesk two weeks ago after making just 5 of 11 field goals to start the year.
However, since that time Bell has been the Bulldogs’ punter after beating out fifth-year senior Baker Swedenburg, a Ray Guy Award nominee.
Bell has averaged 41.5 yards, pinning seven of his 13 punts inside the 20-yard line but has given up two safeties. Swedenburg has averaged 43.7 yards this season but had dropped only three of his 18 punts inside the red zone.
“We recruited (Bell) as a punt/ kickoff guy,” Mullen said. “He did a really good job as a true freshman kicking field goals and won that job. In winning that job, he really took a step back as a punter. Now he’s taken that step forward as a punter. We chart everything throughout the week and he had kind of surpassed Baker all week in statistical numbers so we decided to make that decision.”
Linebacker Deontae Skinner missed the A&M game after some swelling was discovered on his spine prior to Wednesday’s practice. Skinner was slated to have an MRI done on Monday.
Prescott’s injury is considered a stinger and he’ll miss two days of practice. He’s listed as questionable for Saturday and will have his shoulder evaluated again Wednesday.
Junior safety Dee Arrington will miss the rest of the season with a lingering hamstring injury. The injury had limited Arrington to appearing in just one of State’s last seven games.