The Mississippi St. Bulldogs emerged victorious on Saturday over the BYU Cougars, 35-10. It was an easy win, and despite the fact the Bulldogs outscored the Cougars by 25 points, it wasn’t the most impressive performance.
The Bulldogs were never in real danger of losing the game, though things got a little shaky at the end of the third quarter and heading into the fourth. With the Bulldogs up 28-3, Mississippi State was driving toward another score in the waning moments of the third. An errant back footed throw by Nick Fitzgerald was intercepted and returned close to midfield. BYU would then throw a touchdown pass a few plays later. to cut the deficit to 28-10.
The game was still not in doubt, but Keith Mixon fumbled the ensuing kickoff and gave BYU the ball deep in Mississippi State territory. After three unproductive downs, BYU went for it on fourth and 13, but BYU starting quarterback Tanner Mangum threw to the end zone and was picked off by safety Brandon Bryant. The Bulldogs would drive the length of the field and score on Aeris Williams’ touchdown to put the nail in the coffin.
Nick Fitzgerald had mostly good moments, but he had some issues that have to be corrected. He completed 19 of 30 pass attempts for 241 yards and two touchdowns. He also carried the ball 15 times for 103 yards and scored twice. He threw two interceptions though, one could easily argue the first was not his fault, and has thrown 6 picks in the last three games.
One thing hurting Nick Fitzgerald is the receivers continue to drop passes, one of which resulted in an interception. The Bulldogs were better in the receiving game this week, but the play they showed today won’t work when SEC opponents take the field. Despite all the talk of Reggie Todd and Jamal Couch being a big part of the offense from here on out, only Couch had two catches. One of those however was a nice 32 yard touchdown reception.
The defense played as well as most thought they would. BYU was only able to accumulate 176 yards of offense, and had it not been for the turnovers, the Bulldogs could have easily shut the Cougars out on the day. Mississippi State outgained BYU 546 - 176.
Up next is the Kentucky Wildcats. They come to Starkville for Homecoming. The game will start at at 3:00 p.m. central time and airs on the SEC Network.