STARKVILLE, Miss. — Mississippi State football took care of business Saturday night in a 45-7 Homecoming win over Abilene Christian.
With the win, The Bulldogs improve to 5-6 (2-5 SEC) and need one more win to be bowl eligible for the 10th straight season. Abilene Christian falls to 5-7.
State compiled 577 yards of total offense, which included 372 yards of rushing.
Junior running back Kylin Hill led the attack with 153 yards on 16 carries. Hill was also the leading receiver, hauling in three catches for 84 yards and a touchdown, but 88 yards came from a single pass play. Senior running back Nick Gibson finished with 53 rushing yards and a touchdown on eight carries.
Senior quarterback Tommy Stevens completed 13-of-27 passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns. Stevens started the night 2-of-7 for seven yards. On his next three passes, he went 3-of-3 for 112 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 88 yards rushing and one touchdown on seven carries, Freshman quarterback Garrett Shrader completed 3-of-3 passes for 40 yards and a touchdown. He also rushes for 65 yards and a touchdown on eight carries.
The Bulldog defense was led by freshman safety Shawn Preston Jr., who recorded eight tackles, including three solo stops. Senior safety Brian Cole II and senior linebacker Tim Washington followed with seven tackles apiece.
Senior safety Jaquarius Landrews and junior safety Fred Peters each intercepted a pass. The Bulldogs also recorded a season-high four sacks.
The Bulldogs started slow, being held scoreless until just over five minutes left in the first quarter. Fans were unhappy with the slow start, and they let everyone know, as boos filled the stadium.
A 4-yard touchdown run by Gibson with 5:13 left quarter made it 7-0. Senior wide receiver Deddrick Thomas then hauled in a 11-yard touchdown reception to make it 14-0 with 12 minutes left in the half. An 88-yard touchdown connection between Stevens and Hill made it 21-0 with 10:13 left in the second quarter. The Wildcats got on the board with 2:07 left in the half when junior quarterback Luke Anthony found running back Tracy James for a 4-yard touchdown pass. The Bulldogs went into the locker rooms leading 21-7.
A 30-yard touchdown run from Stevens opened up the second-half scoring to give State a 28-7 lead with 8:39 left in the third quarter. Junior kicker Jace Christmann then made a 40-yard field goal to extend the lead to 31-7 with 13:11 left in the game.
A 6-yard touchdown pass from Shrader to sophomore wide receiver Austin Williams would make it 38-7. Shrader then called his own number as he ran in from 10 yards out to make it 45-7.
MSU will now play rival Ole Miss for the regular season finale on Thanksgiving night in the annual Battle for the Golden Egg. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. CT at Davis Wade Stadium and will be televised nationally by ESPN.