For the second week in a row, Dak Prescott passed his test.
Prescott started his first SEC game on the road and found success through the air and on the ground against Auburn. His mobility kept several drives alive and brought a different dimension to the Bulldogs’ offense than what usual starter Tyler Russell brings when he is behind center.
Prescott finished with career highs in both rushing and passing as well as a career-long rush (47-yards) and pass (61-yards).
The 85,817 fans did not seem to have any effect on the sophomore – a good sign moving forward, in case Russell’s concussion issues continue.
Mississippi State had the ball and a 20-17 lead with just over two minutes to go in the game but could not sustain the momentum after converting a 4th-and-1 from its own 29. Following the first down, three carries netted eight yards and the Bulldogs had to punt.
Auburn took over at the 12-yard line and marched 88 yards in a dozen plays.
Keys to victory
(Updating the game keys from last week’s GameDay preview)
1. Get after the quarterback
The Bulldogs had a season-high three sacks with Deontae Skinner, Richie Brown and A.J. Jefferson all recording the first of their careers. Outside of those sacks, State was credited with only one quarterback hurry.
Nick Marshall had plenty of time in the pocket most of the game and connected with nine different receivers including a 37-yard completion to himself.
2. Convert third downs
The Bulldogs had struggled in the first two weeks on third down. Saturday, Mississippi State was 5-of-15 on third down conversions and 0-for-7 in the second half.
On the year the Bulldogs are 12-of-44 on third down, converting just 27.2 percent.
However MSU was 2-of-2 on fourth down against the Tigers and are 7-of-12 on the year.
3. Protect Russell
Tyler Russell was not cleared for contact and did not play following a week 1 concussion against Oklahoma State.
Dak Prescott. Prescott put Mississippi State in position to win the game and was not rattled in his first SEC road start. If he continues to play at that level, the Bulldogs might have a quarterback controversy on their hands once Russell is cleared.
For the fourth time in the last six years, MSU had an opportunity to beat Auburn and simply did not get the job done.