Last season, Mississippi State squeaked out a 30-24 win at Troy in a game that came down to the wire. Saturday night seemed to be on track for another close contest with the Bulldogs clinging to a 10-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Credit MSU for making sure that did not happen again, scoring 52 unanswered points including five touchdowns in the second quarter. The Bulldogs’ offense ran smoothly the entire evening with Dak Prescott at the helm and did not punt.
The 45 first half points were MSU’s most in the modern era.
There were few negatives for the Bulldogs. Troy had some offensive success early on gaining 133 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter but was shut out and limited to only 53 yards the rest of the way.
Devon Bell made a 25-yard field goal but missed from 30. The sophomore is just 6 of 13 from 30-39 yards in his career.
KEYS TO VICTORY
(Updating the game keys from Saturday’s GameDay preview)
1. Disrupt Robinson’s rhythm
Last year, Troy quarterback Corey Robinson picked apart the Bulldogs’ secondary, completing 32 of 45 passing for 343 yards. Robinson began Saturday’s game connecting on eight of his first 12 throws for 71 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
Robinson, who split time behind center with JUCO transfer Deon Anthony, was just 7 of 13 the rest of the way for 34 yards.
2. Establish line of scrimmage
Although MSU was without the services of starting center Dillon Day in the first half, the Bulldogs had little trouble moving the ball at will.
State finished with 551 yards, including 235 on the ground, and only allowed one sack.
The Bulldogs’ defense bottled up Troy’s rushing attack holding it to just 47 yards. The Trojans’ quick passes only allowed MSU to record one sack.
3. No letdowns
The Bulldogs showed no signs of a hangover from their heartbreaking loss to Auburn the previous week. MSU received a big early boost from a 70-yard interception return for a touchdown by Jamerson Love on the opening drive of the game.
QB Dak Prescott. The “Dak Attack” continued to roll in the sophomore’s third straight start for the injured Tyler Russell. Prescott accounted for 322 total yards and four touchdowns in the seven drives that he participated in. He completed 13 of 21 passing for 233 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 53 yards and two more scores on five attempts. Prescott also caught a 36-yard touchdown from Jameon Lewis.
The Bulldogs needed something positive heading into a bye week and certainly got that in all three phases.
State now has two weeks to prepare for a pivotal home encounter with LSU on Oct. 5. With Russell expected back, Dan Mullen will now have to figure out how to incorporate both quarterbacks into his offense.