The first action of the game saw sophomore wide receiver Lideatrick “Tulu” Griffin take the opening kick 100 yards for a score, giving the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead.
For the remainder of the first quarter, NC State (1-1) controlled the pace of the game, outplaying Mississippi State (2-0) in all three phases, ending up with little to show for it.
After several trips to Mississippi State territory resulted in missed opportunities, including a bizarre interception out of the wildcat on the Wolfpack’s opening drive, NC State found themselves down 7-3 despite several opportunities to take control.
Then the Mississippi State offense found its rhythm.
With 1:09 left in the half, sophomore quarterback Will Rogers found junior wide receiver Malik Heath for a 21-yard TD pass to give the Bulldogs a 14-3 lead at the break.
Rogers completed 33 of 49 passes for 294 yards, with 2 passing touchdowns and no interceptions.
Nine different members of the Mississippi State offense caught passes throughout the course of the game, led by sophomore running back Dillon Johnson, who had six receptions for 70 yards.
In the second half, all three phases impressed as Mississippi State finished off a complete victory.
Though Mississippi State was outgained by NC State in both passing and rushing yards, the Bulldogs capitalized on their opportunities, specifically in the red zone.
This game is sure to be a building block for the team going forward, and stands as an impressive win early in head coach Mike Leach’s tenure.
The Bulldogs face their first road test of the season next week against the Memphis Tigers at 3 p.m. CT on ESPN2.