STARKVILLE – Injuries were the hot topic at Dan Mullen’s weekly press conference on Monday.
Mississippi State saw four starters leave and not return to the field during Saturday’s 21-3 season opening loss to Oklahoma State.
The most notable among those injuries occurred midway through the third quarter as senior quarterback Tyler Russell lay motionless after taking a blow to the head on a scramble. Russell was escorted to the locker room with a concussion and is listed as doubtful for the home opener this weekend against Alcorn State.
“We’ll see at the end of the week,” Mullen said. “It was just a concussion from that game. We don’t expect him to practice this week. He might be cleared for the game and then we’ll make a decision if he is cleared for the game to play.”
Mullen expects sophomore Dak Prescott to make his first career start against the Braves. Prescott completed a career-best 7-of-17 passes for 89 yards.
“I don’t think we skipped a beat,” Mullen said of Prescott’s play.
Mullen will also increase the reps for true freshman Damian Williams serving as Prescott’s back-up.
Junior safety Jay Hughes suffered a ruptured Achilles during the first quarter and will miss the remainder of the season.
“It’s a huge loss for us,” Mullen said. “Not because he’s a great player but because he’s one of the top leaders on our team and to me is a face-of-the-program type of guy.”
Sophomore offensive guard Justin Malone (leg) will also be doubtful and junior cornerback Jamerson Love (ankle) is questionable for Saturday.
DT may redshirt
Noticeably absent from the travel roster to Houston were sophomore defensive tackles Quay Evans and Nick James. Mullen stated Monday that neither player missed the game due to injury.
“We’ve just got to make sure they are ready to go play,” Mullen said. “Nick has a possibility of redshirting this year for us. Quay had a really good week of practice last week. I met with him yesterday about it, and he’s on the right path. The key is for him to stay on the right path to get him out there on the field and play with what our expectations levels for him to play are.”
Evans appeared in 10 games in 2012 recording seven tackles and recovering a fumble while James played in eight contests making six stops.
Ten freshmen play
Six redshirt freshmen and four true freshmen saw action Saturday.
Nelson Adams, Beniquez Brown, Richie Brown, Deonte Evans, A.J. Jefferson and Justin Senior played made their debuts after redshirting a year while true freshmen Kivon Coman, Chris Jones, Fred Ross and De’Runnya Wilson also got their initial playing time.
“They played pretty well and handled themselves pretty well out there on the field,” Mullen said. “That’s a big first step.”
Junior college transfers Jeremey Chappelle and Justin Cox also got snaps.