Chad Bumphis hauled in a school record tying three touchdowns in a career performance and LaDarius Perkins added a huge performance on the ground as Mississippi State was able to sneak out of Troy, Ala., 30-24.
MSU was coming off of an emotional win against the Auburn Tigers and it showed against a talented and hungry Troy program. It took a Bumphis catch in the back of the endzone on fourth down in the fourth quarter to really seal the deal for the dawgs.The Bulldogs were lit up defensively as the aggressiveness just wasn't there. Troy QB Corey Robinson certainly impressed as he was able to shred the MSU defense for 343 yards and the offense totaled 572 as a whole, the most given up by an SEC defense all season long. Coming into the ball game, the Bulldogs had given up just 481 yards combined through the first two ball games.
The game began sloppy for MSU with three plays and two yards bringing Baker Swedenburg in for a punt. Swedenburg stayed on the field a good bit of the ball game but showed why he is an elite punter with 6 punts going for 260 yards, three downed inside the 20 and one touchback. He has given up negative yardage on returns this season.
Troy would follow with a three and out and give MSU the ball. The Bulldogs would carry the ball downfield on five plays and 31 yards before Devon Bell finally connected for his first career field goal from 37 yards out and a 3-0 Bulldog lead at 9:57 remaining in the first.
But Troy would come right back themselves. A mixture of nice runs and short routes turned big gains ended with a one yard TD run. Troy took the ball 82 yards on 10 plays to take their first and only lead of the ball game, 7-3.
MSU stalled once again with a three-and-out, but a muffed punt was picked up by Darius Slay giving the Bulldogs something to work with at the Troy 40. Perkins would then go to work, carrying it four times for 45 yards on the drive capping it with a 30 yard touchdown burst up the middle. MSU was in business with a 10-7 lead with 1:34 remaining in the first quarter.
Troy began to drive the ball down into MSU territory but Deontae Skinner ripped the ball out of a receiver's hands and Ferlando Bohanna jumped on it for MSU's second consecutive takeaway. Russell had a wide open touchdown pass dropped on the very next play by Robert Johnson, but Bumphis came through on the very next play with a 72 yard touchdown and 16-7 lead with Bell missing the extra point.
Slay would get a jump ball interception on the following drive only to see the Bulldogs stall. But Robinson came right back out and through yet another to Slay. The turnover was the fourth straight by the Trojans and was Slay's fourth pick on the season. He is now the leader in the country in total interceptions and only player to pick a pass in each game this year.
The Bulldogs would make the Troy secondary pay immediately with a beautiful play action fake and toss from Russell to Bumphis for 58 yards. The Bulldogs seemed to be on their way to blowing the Trojans out of the water with a 23-7 lead and just under five minutes remaining in the half.
The Trojans gave themselves an opportunity for points right before halftime as they drove 74 yards in 15 plays inside the five yard line only to see a missed field goal and a halftime score of 23-7.
The second half saw back and forth stops before Troy was finally able to cut into the lead with a 13 play 80 yard drive capped by a three yard touchdown run and a 23-14 Bulldog lead with 4:17 remaining in the third. Punts went back and forth again until Troy started the fourth quarter with a beautiful 31 yard pitch and catch. The Trojans took the drive 91 yards in just six plays and just like that, the Bulldog lead was cut to three at 23-20 and 12:32 left in the game.
It was time for some magic and MSU was faced with their second fourth down of the drive. Russell rolled to his left and fired the ball to the back of the endzone where he found Bumphis for touchdown number three. The official review would show that Bumphis was bobbling the football and just able to secure it in time to drag one foot in. Bumphis became just the third Bulldog receiver with three tds in one game and tied the school's all-time touchdown record at 17.
Troy knocked a field goal through with 4:00 left but Perkins made sure that the ball never returned to the Trojans with three solid runs giving State the opportunity to run the clock out. It was a win that MSU will take any day of the week and it pushed them to 3-0 for the first time since 1999.
Both the Media and Coaches felt like the 3-0 start was good enough for the 23rd spot in this weeks poll.
MSU now looks to continue its winning ways as South Alabama comes to town for a 6 p.m. kickoff on Pay Per View.
News and Notes:
- MSU had their first ever 175 yard rushing and receiving game by two players.
- State has won 13 consecutive non-conference games which ranks second all-time in MSU's history behind 18 from 1941-47.
- State is tops in the nation with 12 forced turnovers tied with Alabama and Kansas.
- Chad Bumphis' day was a career performance catching 6 balls for 180 yards and three tds and has caught a touchdown in each of the first three games.
- LaDarius Perkins also had himself a career day rushing for 179 yards on 23 carries and a touchdowns. He has four touchdowns in three games which equals what he had in his previous 21 games to begin his career.