The Mississippi St. Bulldogs took care of business against the Charleston Southern Buccaneers on Saturday in the 2017 season opener. The game was never in doubt from the beginning, and the Bulldogs won handily 49-0.
The Bulldogs received the opening kickoff and made a statement on the opening drive. It took four plays for Mississippi State to march 75 yards. The big play of the drive was a 62 yard reception from Farrod Green. Nick Fitzgerald would run the ball in the end zone on the next play from two yards out, and it was all Bulldogs from that point on.
Nick Fitzgerald had a solid day at quarterback. He completed 16 of 29 passes for 239 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran seven times for 83 yards and a touchdown.
Leading the Bulldogs in the rushing game was starter Aeris Williams. He had 16 carries for 83 yards and a touchdown.
The Bulldogs took a 28-0 lead in to the locker room at half time. The starters would give way to the reserves after the first possession of the second half.
The only concern for most people during the game was the offensive line. There were times Charleston Southern put pressure on Fitzgerald and disrupted the offense by getting to the running backs in the backfield. Hopefully the coaching staff will correct those issues before the next game at Louisiana Tech.
Most importantly to Bulldog fans, the defense looked much improved from a season ago. While Charleston Southern is just an FCS team, the Bulldogs looked awful against the Samford Bulldogs in 2016. Samford racked up 669 yards of total offense in the 2016 game along with 41 points.
In this game, the Mississippi State defense had a much better performance. They were in the backfield constantly and the Buccaneers only had 1 first down with 9 minutes to play in the 4th quarter. They did not crack double digits in total yards until after the midpoint of the 4th quarter.
The Bulldogs will travel to play the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs next week. The game will be played in Ruston, LA at 6:30 p.m. and will air on CBS Sports Network.