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 stay undefeated, defeat Blue Raiders

Mississippi State avoided getting caught in its “trap game” as the Dogs defeated Middle Tennessee State University 45-3. 

The Homecoming game was sandwiched between two big-times games against Tennessee and Alabama, but after the Dogs seemed to lose focus in the second quarter, they gained momentum in the second half for the win.

State’s first drive of the game was a season-long 14 plays and took a season-long 7:08 to score the touchdown. LaDarius Perkins had 9 carries for 36 yards on the drive, but it was Tyler Russell who found his high school teammate Chris Smith in the end zone for six.

The Dogs and Blue Raiders traded field goals to head to the locker rooms with MSU leading 10-3.

In the third quarter, Perkins got things going offensively for the Dogs with a 64-yard explosion for a touchdown.

Defensively, Johnthan Banks tied Walt Harris for the MSU record and tied David Amerson of N.C. State for the active FBS record with his 16th interception but went stayed down after the play. Banks did not play the rest of the game, but the senior said he was fine and would just get some ice and more IV’s.

“A guy hit me late, and my knee went back, but I’m good,” Banks said  “It’s an honor to be tied with Walt Harris right now. It’s a blessing from God.”

Head coach Dan Mullen lit into the refs after the play and was clearly upset at the late hit on Banks. Mullen said after Banks’ interception, the defense relaxed in a good way and stopped worrying so much.

“Everybody’s heart jumped into their throat on that play,” Mullen said. “I think the interception was the play that sealed the deal for us. Banks is okay. He twisted his knee but felt completely stable.”

The defense rallied for the injured star and smothered the Blue Raiders the rest of the game. Senior linebacker Cameron Lawrence forced a fumble and recovered it, giving State the ball deep in MTSU territory.

Russell wasted no time in finding Robert Johnson for a touchdown, the sophomore’s first touchdown reception of his career.

The fourth quarter saw some fresh faces get some playing time for MSU. Dak Prescott took over the offense and led a drive, which included a 43-yard run by Nick Griffin and a five-yard touchdown run by Prescott.

Redshirt freshman Derrick Milton also ran for a touchdown in the Dogs’ fourth quarter beat-down of the Blue Raiders.

Smith had a career-high two touchdown receptions and a career-high seven receptions on the night. Mullen called Smith the leader of the receivers, and Russell said it was huge to have Smith out there making big plays.

“The second touchdown I threw to him, he wasn’t even supposed to get the ball. I was supposed to throw it to the tight end, but they did a good job of defending that, and I got out there and knew he was open,” Russell said. “All those guys are leaders, but to have Chris out there, even when he’s not getting the ball, he’s pumping up everybody.”

The Dogs can now look to next weekend’s game at No. 1 Alabama in a battle for first place in the SEC West.

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Dogs stay undefeated, defeat Blue Raiders