STARKVILLE, Miss. — The #18 Mississippi State football team opened its 2018 season with a dominant performance Saturday evening as it defeated the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks 63-6.
With the win, MSU improves to 1-0 on the season, while SFA drops to 0-1.
After forcing the Lumberjacks to a punt on their opening drive, the Bulldogs scored on a 53-yard touchdown catch-and-run from Keytaon Thompson to Kylin Hill on its very first play from scrimmage. There was plenty more where that came from, as first-year head coach Joe Moorhead’s high-powered offense was on full display in the first half of the game. They scored on another one-play drive on a 84-yard bullet pass to sophomore receiver Osirus Mitchell
The Bulldogs accumulated 214 yards and 21 points in the first quarter and then another 14 points on 156 yards in the second quarter.
The Bulldogs set the pace through the entire 60 minutes as they recorded 618 yards of total offense including 220 yards on the ground and 398 yards through the air while holding SFA to just two field goals. MSU led 35-3 at halftime and scored two more touchdowns in both the third and fourth quarters.
Sophomore quarterback Keytaon Thompson stole the show for MSU offensively. He totaled 473 yards of total offense and seven touchdowns in just over three quarters of action. He was 13-of-31 for 364 yards and five scores through the air and also rushed for a team-high 109 yards and two scores.
A total of 10 different Bulldogs had receptions from Thompson in the game. Mitchell, Austin Williams and Keith Mixon had two each. Kylin Hill, Aeris Williams and Dontea Jones also had Touchdown catches.
To go along with Thompson’s 109 rushing yards, Hill added 50 yards and a score on nine rushes and Dontavian Lee had 29 yards on six rushes, including a five-yard touchdown.
Defensively, the Bulldogs allowed just 254 yards of offense to SFA.
Safety Johnathan Abram led MSU with eight tackles in the game. Defensive end Montez Sweat added six tackles, including two sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss. C.J. Morgan had MSU’s lone interception of the night.
MSU will be back in action Saturday, as the Bulldogs take on Kansas State to open its 2018 road slate. Kickoff time is set for 11 a.m. CT and will be televised nationally by ESPN.