By Brad Locke
HOUSTON – A miserable day for Mississippi State’s offense got worse late in the third quarter.
With the Bulldogs trailing No. 13 Oklahoma State 14-3, quarterback Tyler Russell tried to scramble away from defensive pressure and took a shot to the head as he was being tackled. Replays showed that linebacker Ryan Simmons made contact with Russell, who left the game at the 2:50 mark and didn’t return.
MSU coach Dan Mullen didn’t have an immediate diagnosis on Russell’s condition after the game.
“He was responsive,” Mullen said. “Obviously, any time you have that type of head/neck issue, you’re going to be very, very cautious. We’ll get more evaluation as we move forward.”
MSU lost some other key players Saturday.
Safety Jay Hughes suffered an Achilles’ injury when breaking up a pass in the first quarter, and cornerback Jamerson Love injured his ankle while covering a punt in the second quarter. Neither player returned.
Hughes was emotional on the sidelines.
“So your heart goes out to a kid like that, that puts so much into the program and plays for two series, plays at a high level,” defensive coordinator Geoff Collins said.
Four true freshmen saw the field for MSU: Kivon Coman, Chris Jones, Fred Ross and De’Runnya Wilson.
Wilson caught two passes for 17 yards, while Ross had one catch for eight yards. Jones saw some snaps at defensive tackle, and Coman worked on special teams.
“A lot of times sometimes in early games, guys get in, and it’s not in real time. They were in there in real time,” Mullen said. “To me they’re now somewhat veteran players.”
Evans, James absent
Quay Evans and Nick James, a pair of backup defensive tackles, weren’t with the team in Houston. No reason was given for their absence.
The sophomores both saw a fair amount of action last season, with Evans playing in 10 games and James in eight.
MSU had stymied Oklahoma State’s offense for nearly the entire first half, but quarterback J.W. Walsh led a 69-yard touchdown drive by rushing for 60 yards, including a 46-yard scamper and a 3-yard TD run. That gave OSU a 7-3 lead.
Two – MSU committed two turnovers, while OSU committed none.
“I feel like, if we play those guys again, we’ll beat them.” – MSU tailback LaDarius Perkins
MSU opens its seven-game home slate next weekend with Alcorn State, of the SWAC. Kickoff is 2:30 p.m.
Safety Dee Arrington had a career-high seven tackles. … Linebacker Deontae Skinner led MSU with 10 tackles. … Punter Baker Swedenburg averaged 45.0 yards per kick. … Jameon Lewis had a 66-yard kickoff return in the second quarter, but MSU couldn’t capitalize. … MSU had a 13-game winning streak against non-conference teams snapped.