Following its SEC-opening loss, Mississippi State University improved to 2-0 at home Saturday after dismantling the Troy Trojans 62-7. Both the offense and defense had successful performances as the Bulldogs had the game well in hand by halftime.
MSU went into the half with a 45-7 lead, which was the second-most points scored in a half in school history and the most since 1950.
Offensively, the Bulldogs executed their game plan and did not punt the entire game. As great as the offense was, the defense may have had the biggest impact on the game. The Bulldog defense held Troy to only seven points and star quarterback Corey Robinson to only 105 passing yards, which is the lowest total of his career in a game. The performance was total domination by the Dogs against a team that posed a threat in a key part of the season for MSU.
The defense set the tone for the night, forcing two huge turnovers — none bigger perhaps than Jamerson Love’s interception he took 70 yards the other way for a score.
Love credited the defensive linemen up front with the assist on a pivotal play.
“It all started up front with the D-line because they got good pressure,” Love said. “In the secondary, we just focused all week on disguising our coverages, and I just disguised it. I read the play, and he threw it right to me and you saw the result.”
The play of the secondary in the game was not perfect, but it was improved from last week. Younger players in the group stepped up and delivered, especially considering all of the injuries they have had in the position.
Head Coach Dan Mullen said he was pleased with the play of his secondary.
“We were already really young and had some injuries, and then on top of that we found out before the game that (Taveze Calhoun) was not going to be able to play, and I was just really proud of the job they did,” Mullen said. “I felt like our coaches did a great job of getting them ready to play this week, and I thought we made a bunch of big plays in the secondary.”
After MSU took an early 10-7 lead, the Trojans put together a drive to land themselves inside the Bulldog 10-yard line. On third-and-goal, Matthew Wells applied pressure and recorded a sack and forced a fumble that was recovered by Benardrick McKinney. Troy did not have any notable positives on offense for the rest of the game after that play, and the MSU front seven applied pressure and made things uncomfortable for Robinson the rest of the way. The Trojans posted 148 total yards of offense in the first quarter but only 37 yards total the rest of the game.
MSU sophomore quarterback Dak Prescott provided another good performance as he generated offense by passing, running and even catching the football. Not only did Prescott throw for a touchdown and rush for two more, but he caught a 36-yard pass from junior Jameon Lewis. Prescott and Lewis got the hat trick as both had at least one touchdown passing, rushing and receiving in the game.
Prescott said everyone in the huddle was excited when the trick play was called, and he credited his teammates for the successful execution.
“It was a play we practiced all week, and it was just a good time to call it,” Prescott said. “Everybody did a good job. Jameon (Lewis) sold it, the offensive line pulled out and blocked well and everything just worked out.”
Prescott’s play the past three weeks has started talks of a potential quarterback controversy among fans and some media members, but Prescott put any doubt to rest after the game about who the quarterback of this team is.
“(Tyler Russell) is the leader of our team, and he’s the guy, and when he’s back and ready to go, we’re going to all follow behind him,“ Prescott said.
Mullen also reiterated Prescott’s statement by naming Russell the starting quarterback for the LSU game.
“Tyler is our starting quarterback, and we plan on Tyler being our starting quarterback against LSU,” Mullen said.
The Bulldogs now stand at 2-2, and the LSU Tigers come to town after an open date. The Bulldogs kick off against the Tigers at 6 p.m.