REWIND: Miss. State 21, Bowling Green 20

8TB6_MSU_primary_logoThumbs Up

It wasn’t pretty, but Mississippi State is halfway to bowl eligibility evening its record to 3-3 with the win Saturday night. The Bulldogs scored touchdowns on three of their first five drives and held on defensively in the second half for the victory.

Both Tyler Russell and Dak Prescott had their share of success at quarterback. Russell completed 12 of 14 passing while Prescott ran for a career-high 139 yards and two TDs.

Sophomore Will Redmond had a tackle and a pass deflection in his collegiate debut and true freshman Tolando Cleveland recorded three tackles, a sack and recovered a fumble for an injury-riddled secondary. Both made big plays in the fourth quarter to quell the Bowling Green comeback.

Thumbs Down

The Bulldogs were shutout in the second half and generated only 129 yards of offense in the final two quarters. MSU has now been outscored 69-41 in the second half this season including 49-17 in the fourth quarter.

Dan Mullen’s call to go for it on 4th-and-3 from 8-yard line going in up by a point with 4:27 remaining was foolish. Even worse was the quarterback draw play that was called came out of the shotgun and was stopped inches shy.

Keys to Victory

(Updating the game keys from Saturday’s GameDay preview)

1. Start strong and maintain

The Bulldogs got half of this equation right jumping out to a 21-10 lead late into the second quarter. State surrendered 10 unanswered points and were shut out in the second half.

2. End zone for Perkins

Running back LaDarius Perkins got into the end zone on the first drive of the night with a 1-yard plunge over the top. The Bulldogs marched 75 yards in nine plays to get the senior his first score of the season.

3. Prevent the pass

Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson does not have the skill level of LSU’s Zach Mettenberger but still found success through the air. Johnson connected on 20 of 34 passing for 224 yards finding wide open receivers once again.

MVP

QB Tyler Russell. Russell started his first game since Aug. 31 and completed 10 of 11 passing for 95 yards in the first half while alternating with Prescott. Russell took only three snaps in the second half.

Bottom Line

Like Mullen said after the game “a win is a win” and right now as banged up as the Bulldogs are they’ll take a victory no matter how ugly it may be.

Logan Lowery