The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Dogs win at home, travel to Auburn for conference opener

Emma Katherine Hutto

Dak Prescott, throws a pass in his first career start against Alcorn State. Prescott finished the day with 174 passing yards.

After falling in its season opener, the Mississippi State University Bulldogs bounced back Saturday, beating Alcorn State handedly 51-7.

The story surrounding Saturday’s game was sophomore quarterback Dak Prescott as he made his first start. Prescott answered the bell and went 12-19 for 174 yards and two touchdowns, with a rushing touchdown as well. Prescott only played the first half, but that was all it took. He had the Bulldogs offense off and running. MSU accumulated 308 yards of total offense and only punted once during the first half with Prescott in the game.

Prescott credited his teammates with making his first start an easier experience.

“The line and the receivers were with me 100 percent, telling me from the start in each huddle ‘let’s go.’ Everything was good, and it was just comfortable out there,” Prescott said. “Everybody did a good job, and it was good to just get in that rhythm and get going as an offense and score some points.” 

After back-to-back solid outings, the Bulldogs’ defense looks to potentially be the strength of this year’s team moving forward. For a majority of the game, the defense did not allow Alcorn State to virtually get anything positive going in the first half.  MSU held the Braves to only 30 yards of total offense on 30 plays by halftime. MSU’s defense also forced three turnovers.

Linebacker Benardrick McKinney said he thinks MSU has one of the most talented defenses in the country.

“We got the potential to be the best defense in the SEC and in the nation,” McKinney said. “The coaches are going to put us in great positions. It’s just up to us, the players, to make the plays.” 

Once MSU had the game well in hand, the Bulldogs were able to play multiple players. Seventy players overall played in Saturday’s game, including 25 freshmen.

MSU head coach Dan Mullen said he was pleased some of his younger players were able to get in-game action.

“A lot of young guys got reps and got opportunities on the field to show what they could do,” Mullen said. “The great thing is that now the younger players don’t just get to watch practice film, they get to watch actual game film and see how they performed out there on game day.”

Experience can only be beneficial to the young guys moving forward, but a few veterans that missed the game Saturday are expected to be ready to go for Saturday’s game against Auburn.  Quarterback Tyler Russell, running back LaDarrius Perkins and cornerback Jamerson Love were some of the starters that did not play and are expected back Saturday against Auburn. 

Overall, the Bulldogs have not fared well against the Tigers as Auburn claims a 60-24-2 all-time record in the series. MSU did beat Auburn last season 28-10 and seeks to reverse its fortune against this team. The Bulldogs look to surpass the Tigers not only in the standings, but also as an elite program in the SEC West. The matchup will be both teams’ first SEC game of the year, and with such a tough schedule this season, it will be critical for the Bulldogs to get off to a good start.

The Tigers have a lot of uncertainty about their team this season. Even after a 2-0 start, they are a team still trying to establish its identity on the field. Auburn’s quarterback Nick Marshall is a dual-threat junior college prospect who lit up the scoreboard last season at Garden City Community College. He threw for over 3,000 yards passing and rushed for over 1,000 yards.

The Tigers also have one of the better running back duos in the nation in Tre Mason and Alabama transfer Corey Grant. Mason and Grant, along with Marshall’s ability to run, make the Tigers very dangerous on the ground, which could be a problem for MSU. Although the Bulldogs played well defensively in the opener against the Cowboys, MSU really struggled to stop them on the ground, especially when they went to the option — which is a staple of the Auburn offense. MSU gave up 286 yards on over seven yards per carry to Oklahoma State, and if they do not do a better job defending the run against Auburn it will be very difficult to beat the Tigers. 

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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
Dogs win at home, travel to Auburn for conference opener