Although we all know the win is all that counts, this one was far from pretty tonight for Mississippi State. MSU was able to muster enough offense in spurts and got a strong showing from kicker Devon Bell to maneuver a 30-10 victory over South Alabama tonight at Davis Wade Stadium. The win pushes State to 4-0 on the year and into an off week where the dogs will look to work on issues and rest players as they prepare for the final 8 games of the schedule. Let's take a quick look at some of the highs and lows from tonight's game:
- Credit goes to South Alabama, they came in and played with State the whole game, although the score would indicate differently (it was really 30-3, South Alabama scored their TD late). South Alabama had more first downs than State (21 to 15), and gained nearly as many yards (347 to State's 356). The Jaguars took advantage of soft zone coverage again for State to sling the ball around the yard, much like Troy did in the week prior.
- Tyler Russell was batted around all night, and that is concerning to see going forward. Russell took some shots throughout the game, which really makes you worry about this offensive line that outside of Gabe Jackson and Dillon Day, is still very inconsistent.
- Devon Bell eased worries for most State fans about the kicker position tonight. Bell boomed three field goals, two of which were from 42 yards (both of them would have been good from much further). Bell also boomed several kickoffs deep into the endzone. It appeared as if Bell is much more comfortable out there, which is great to see. He certainly has the talent, I think he was just struggling with the freshman jitters.
- Russell did not have his best game, going 13 for 27 with 171 yards and 1 INT. Russell threw his 137th pass without an INT earlier in the game to tie the MSU record held by Wesley Carrol, then turned around and threw the INT the next play. LaDarius Perkins led the way with 69 yards rushing on 11 carries and 1 TD, with most of those yards coming on a 44 yard TD in the first half. Brandon Heavens led all receivers with 3 receptions for 55 yards.
Dak Prescott did get to see some action tonight, and was impressive in my eyes. Prescott scored a rushing touchdown inside the red zone, and also had a nice 30 yard completion late in the game.
All in all, this game was a yawner. State did win, but they essentially rode a 20 point 2nd quarter to a victory. We will take the victory for sure, and there were no apparent major injuries, so in the end that's all you can ask for. Still, one certainly hopes that State can make some improvements in the next several weeks before the gauntlet of games that is the back half of our schedule begins. Could not think of a better time for an off week.
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