MSU NOTEBOOK: Specialists win battles in practice

8TB6_MSU_primary_logoBy Logan Lowery

Daily Journal

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Mississippi State has had an open competition at practice at the kicker and punter positions the past two games.

Evan Sobiesk and Devon Bell came out on top this past week in practice according to head coach Dan Mullen, who also serves at the Bulldogs special teams coordinator.

“I got handed a statistical analysis on Friday,” Mullen said. “Evan missed only two field goals all week and Devon missed three or four. I looked at those percentages and he’d won the field goal battle and Devon had won the punting battle.”

Sobiesk made his second field goal of the year, a career-long 38-yarder; Bell punted five times for a 47.6 yard average. His 62-yarder in the second quarter was the longest for MSU since 2010.

Evans still out

Sophomore defensive tackle Quay Evans did not make the trip and missed his third game this season and second straight due to a suspension.

“He’s doing things to earn his way back onto the varsity part of the team and we’ll see how that goes,” Mullen said.

Evans was arrested following a traffic violation Wednesday on campus. Mullen said Evans ran a stop sign and did not have a driver’s license.

Russell watches

State senior quarterback Tyler Russell dressed but did not play. Russell was held out as a precaution from a sprained ankle and did not practice last week but was cleared to play.

Key drive

On the initial drive of the second half, Mississippi State got the ball at midfield trailing by a touchdown. Two plays later, Dak Prescott fumbled, which led to another Gamecock touchdown.

Key number – 7

The Bulldogs held South Carolina’s offense to seven drives that went three-and-out. It was the most for MSU this season and most allowed by the Gamecocks.USC had 15 drives that went three-and-out all season entering the contest.

Quotable

“It was just bad management and I’ll throw that on myself as well. It’s something that we’ll learn from and we’ll fix that.” – <b>Quarterback Dak Prescott </b>on MSU’s time management of the offense on the final drive of the first half

Next game

MSU returns to the road next week, traveling to Texas A&M for a 2:30 p.m. kickoff on CBS.

Bulldog bites

Mississippi State has 20 rushing touchdowns this fall after having 18 last year. …The Bulldogs fumbled twice after having only one all season. … South Carolina was 1-of-11 on third down. … Dak Prescott’s 28 of 48 day passing is the most in both categories under Dan Mullen in an SEC game. … LaDarius Perkins now has 4,000 all-purpose yards for his career. … Benardrick McKinney recorded his first sack of the season. …Deontae Skinner led the team with five tackles. …The Gamecocks have won 15 straight games at home and seven consecutive over State.