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

Despite mistakes, Bulldogs dominate BYU

Noah Siano | The Reflector

Running back Aeris Williams, junior from West Point, averaged five yards a carry, rushing 23 times and gaining 114-yards in Saturday’s 35-10 win against BYU.

Mississippi State University football (4-2, 1-2 SEC) comfortably blew out BYU (1-6), despite mistakes and errors, by a score of 35-10 on Saturday in Davis Wade stadium.

An 11 a.m. start, a sparse crowd and an opponent in desperate need of a win all have the makings of a dreaded trap game. Everything was in place for a sluggish and slow start for MSU, but instead they came out hot, jumping off to a 28-3 lead.

While dominant, there were mistakes

MSU’s offense put up huge numbers, gaining 546 total yards. On the other side of the ball, Todd Grantham’s defense held BYU to 179 yards. MSU ran more plays, held the ball longer and averaged more yards play. They won almost every statistical category with two exceptions, turnovers and penalties, something head coach Dan Mullen pointed out after the game.

“We did some silly things and made some mistakes that didn’t make me happy, obviously turning the ball over in the red zone,” Mullen said. “We had a couple of silly penalties, we missed a couple of tackles on defense. Those are things we have to get corrected.”

Williams and Fitzgerald form dynamic duo in the backfield

Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald and running back Aeris Williams both went over 100-yards rushing for the fourth time in today’s game. Williams averaged five yards a carry, rushing 23 times and gaining 114-yards. Williams, a junior from West Point, also does the little things that are not seen on the stat sheet, like picking up blitzes, something he did well today. Also catching the ball, as he caught three passes and gained 33-yards.

“He runs the ball really hard. He’s always going to get you an extra yard. He’s always going to fall forward. He’s great at blocking. He’s great on the perimeter catching the ball. He’s all around a great player,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s awesome to have him back there with me.”
Fitzgerald, a junior from Richmond Hill, Georgia, also had a solid day through the air going 19-30 for 241 yards. He ran for two touchdowns and passed for two more as well. The knocks on Fitzgerald’s day were his two interceptions, both coming on the BYU side of the field.

Fitzgerald finished the game with 15 rushes, which is where Mullen said he wants Fitzgerald to keep his carry count, and 103 rushing yards.

“They have to control him [Fitzgerald] too,” Williams said. “Well, try to control him because he can run.”

Fitzgerald is the second player in MSU history with 25 career rushing touchdowns and 25 career passing touchdowns, joining Dak Prescott.

Defense puts up strong performance 

MSU’s defense struggled at times throughout the game, missing tackles and committing penalties, but overall finished with a solid statline holding BYU to 26 yards rushing and eight first downs. On the day, BYU averaged a measly 3.8 yards a play. MSU also got off the field often, as BYU only converted four of their 13 third down attempts.

Brandon Byrant, a junior safety from Tunica, led the defense, making five tackles, good for third on the team, and picked off a pass in the end zone to stop a BYU drive.

“We knew that they had quarterbacks that weren’t strong passers,” Bryant said. “They weren’t able to get the ball down the field like they should. We prepared for everything they had.”

On to Homecoming

MSU will host the University of Kentucky next Saturday on Homecoming weekend.

Fitzgerald and Mullen both noted MSU will need a better crowd next weekend than what they had against BYU.

“We need a wilder environment next week as we enter back into SEC play,” Mullen said. “We need to make sure we have that home field advantage that we need to make it really hard on opposing teams.”

Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. and MSU women’s basketball player Victoria Vivians will be honored as the 2017 Homecoming Queen. A win gives MSU a .500 record in SEC play.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Reflector

Your donation will support the student journalists of Mississippi State University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Reflector

Comments (0)

All The Reflector Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
Despite mistakes, Bulldogs dominate BYU