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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Bulldog offense lifts off, defense smothers in first win for Moorhead

Noah Siano | The Reflector

Kylin Hill sprints past Stephan F. Austin defenders in the first quarter of the opening game under head coach Joe Moorhead.

It took 12 seconds for sophomore running back Kylin Hill, to score the first touchdown in a game under Joe Moorhead.

In route to a 63-6 victory for Mississippi State University (1-0) over Stephen F. Austin University (0-1), the Bulldogs started off their scoring with a 54-yard touchdown pass to Hill by Keytaon Thompson, a sophomore quarterback from New Orleans. Hill, a Columbus native, described the feeling as he raced to the end zone.

“KT threw me the ball, I saw an open gap, and just made a couple of guys miss,” Hill said. “My eyes got big. I said, ‘just run don’t trip.'”

The defense also started strong, as they forced five straight punts before SFA scored a field goal at the 13-minute mark in the second quarter. Jeffery Simmons, a junior from Macon, said the team was amped up to play which translated to their good start.

“It felt good, we just came out with fire, just ready to play ball,” Simmons said. “It has been a long time coming. We have been practicing against our offense and hitting each other. So we finally got to unleash everything on Stephen F. Austin.”

The longest touchdown pass in MSU history since 2004, was scored by Osirus Mitchell, a sophomore from Sarasota, Florida, as he caught a wide-open, 84-yard touchdown pass from Thompson, and raced down the left sideline.

“I knew he (Thompson) wasn’t going to miss me,” Mitchell said. “He told me he actually threw it like that because he didn’t want to overthrow me so I came back to the ball. I thought people were coming, I thought that safety was coming to the ball.”

Thompson also tied an SEC record for most touchdowns in a game by a quarterback as he threw for a touchdown to Aeris Williams, Osirus Mitchell again, and rushed for two other touchdown runs in his first regular season start for MSU.

Despite his massive amounts of offensive production with seven TD’s and 473 yards, Thompson struggled completing passes as he only completed 13/31 passes.

“I had a few throws that I would definitely like to have back,” Thompson said. “I missed a few easy ones out there. That is just a few things I have to clean up mechanically.”

The 63 points that MSU head coach Joe Moorhead’s team put up was the most in a season opener since 1950 against Arkansas State University.

His offense also fell 51 yards short of tying the school record for most total yards in a game as his team had 618 yards of total offense. Despite their successes on offense and defense as the defense held SFA to only 254 yards and six points, Moorhead believes his team can get better.

“Overall just playing a cleaner game with fewer penalties,” Moorhead said. “When we are looking at film we have to be very critical. We can not be ostriches and just stick our heads in the sand because we won by a significant amount and act like we didn’t have any problems.”

Moorhead summarized his first gameday at MSU as surreal and said he was thankful for the fans’ support at the start of the game as they were loud and lively. He also said he was pleased with his wide receivers performance as they caught for 398 yards combined.

“Certainly the lingering question entering the season was conceding our wide receiver growth,” Moorhead said. “Were they capable of making not just plays, but explosive plays. I hope we were able to answer those questions today.”

MSU will play Kansas State University this next weekend in Manhattan, Kansas, with kickoff set for 11 a.m.

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Bulldog offense lifts off, defense smothers in first win for Moorhead