Two-headed QB monster hard to tame

STARKVILLE – For one week at least, Mississippi State’s two-quarterback system worked just fine.
Senior Tyson Lee and redshirt sophomore Chris Relf were a combined 15-for-23 for 157 yards in the Bulldogs’ 45-7 win over Jackson State on Saturday. Relf wound up getting more snaps due to spasms in Lee’s throwing shoulder.
Relf was 7 of 10 for 75 yards and had all three of MSU’s touchdown passes. He also led State with 82 yards rushing.
Asked to grade himself, Relf said, “I’d grade myself, I’d say, about 98.”
Perhaps a bit high, and he will still share duties with Lee when the Bulldogs travel to Auburn this weekend.
“I still see us as somewhat of a two-quarterback system,” coach Dan Mullen said. “I’m not ready to go, especially to go on the road, to put all of that on one of our quarterbacks. We’ll let them both shoulder that load, and between the two of them I think they can handle it.”
Lee could have played in the second half, but Mullen decided to rest him. He should be fine for the Auburn game.

Dixon sits this one out
- Anthony Dixon could only watch the Mullen era begin.
Dixon, MSU’s career leader in rushing attempts and rushing touchdowns, was suspended for Saturday’s game. Mullen announced the decision less than two hours before kickoff.
Dixon was arrested for DUI in July and pleaded guilty. He had been serving undisclosed team discipline since then, but Mullen delayed his decision on whether to suspend him for the opener until Saturday.
“This was not the only step of his discipline, nor is it one we took lightly. Anthony has also been enrolled in counseling; he’ll continue that process,” Mullen said.
MSU’s run game was fine without him, as the Bulldogs rushed for 202 yards. Robert Elliott had 60 yards and a TD on 10 carries, while Arnil Stallworth gained 79 total yards.

Pretty special
- Even though junior college transfer Sean Brauchle was just 1-for-3 on field goals, Mullen liked his special teams play as a whole. It was a big reason JSU’s average starting field position was its own 24-yard line.
“Besides the missed field goals … our kickoff team really set the tone to that second half with the field position. We held them pinned back deep in their own territory,” Mullen said.

Key drive
- After a sluggish first half, MSU got an interception by Charles Mitchell on JacksonState’s opening possession of the second half, and that led to Elliott’s 7-yard TD run and a commanding 21-0 lead.

Key number
- 54,232 – Saturday’s announced attendance, the third largest of all time for a game at Davis Wade Stadium, which has a capacity of 55,082.

Next weekend
- MSU opens SEC play at Auburn (1-0), which beat Louisiana Tech 37-13 on Saturday. Auburn won last year’s game, 3-2, at Starkville.

Quotable
- “There was a lot of guys just trying to get each other going, and they believed once we got it going, things would be pretty good.” – MSU coach Dan Mullen, on the mood at halftime with a 14-0 lead.

Bulldog bites
- Jamar Chaney, who missed the final 11 games of last season after breaking his leg, made the first tackle of the game for MSU. The middle linebacker got a senior year do-over thanks to a medical redshirt. … Mullen is the fourth straight MSU coach to win his debut. … MSU’s 45 points was the most it’s scored since posting 51 against Jacksonville State in 2002. … Defensive back Wade Bonner led the Bulldogs with four tackles.

Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal