Starkville, MS (SportsNetwork.com) – Dak Prescott solidified himself as a true
Heisman Trophy candidate and his 12th-ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs
emerged as a contender in the powerful SEC on Saturday with a thorough 48-31
victory over No. 6 Texas A&M at Davis Wade Stadium.
Prescott completed 19-of-25 passes for 259 yards with two touchdowns and ran
for 77 yards with three scores, while Josh Robinson added 107 yards and two
touchdowns on the ground for the Bulldogs (5-0, 2-0 SEC).
Mississippi State extended its winning streak to eight games dating back to
last year. The Bulldogs have won their first five games for the second time in
three seasons, although the 2012 team was 7-0 before losing five of its last
This year’s Bulldog squad appears to be for real, winning consecutive games
against top-10 teams for the first time in school history. They were idle last
week after winning at then-No. 8 LSU for the first time since 1991. Another
test against a ranked foe awaits next week when Auburn visits Scott Field.
“What a great effort by our guys,” said Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen.
“We knew it was going to be a tough battle. Our guys played for four quarters.
We’re going to enjoy this win and we’ll start focusing on Auburn (Sunday).”
Texas A&M quarterback Kenny Hill struggled for most of the first half, then
turned it on in the second half and finished with 365 yards passing. He threw
four touchdown passes, but was also intercepted three times — all by MSU
linebacker Richie Brown.
The Aggies (5-1, 2-1), who had a six-game winning streak stopped, were trying
for their first 6-0 start since the 1994 team opened with seven victories en
route to a 10-0-1 season.
“We were extremely inconsistent across the board, but Mississippi State had a
lot to do with that,” said Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin. “They took advantage
of the opportunities that they had. The turnovers were big, but Dak Prescott
was extremely efficient. He played like he played all year, like one of the
best players in the country and we weren’t able to match that.”
A&M scored first and did so quickly, taking the opening kickoff and marching
69 yards in six plays for a 7-0 lead. Hill completed four of his five passes,
capping it with a 13-yard strike to Josh Reynolds just 1:41 into the game.
The Bulldogs clamped down on defense until late in the half and the offense
scored 28 straight points to open a big lead.
A defensive holding penalty on a third-down incomplete pass kept Mississippi
State’s first series alive and the Bulldogs took full advantage. Robinson’s
49-yard run keyed the seven-play set and he finished it with a 1-yard score.
The Aggies were forced to punt, but Jamoral Graham fumbled it away and A&M was
in prime position at the Mississippi State 26, but the Bulldog defense stopped
Tra Carson on 4th-and-1.
Robinson scored on a 2-yard run in the final minute of the first quarter to
give the Bulldogs the lead and Prescott finished the next Mississippi State
series, an 11-play, 87-yard march, with a 1-yard scoring run to make it 21-7
midway through the second period.
Hill was picked off near midfield by Brown on A&M’s next possession, but
Robinson fumbled the ball away two plays later. Brown came up with another
Hill pass moments later and the Bulldogs converted the turnover with a 47-yard
scoring drive. Prescott caught a pass from Gabe Myles to key the eight-play
series, setting up a 9-yard TD pass to De’Runnya Wilson for a 28-7 advantage
with just over two minutes left in the half.
The Aggies had time and drove inside the MSU 10 before settling for a 27-yard
Josh Lambo field goal to make it 28-10 at the break.
Evan Sobiesk missed a 42-yard field goal attempt for the Bulldogs to start the
second half, but a 51-yard run by Brandon Holloway midway through the third
quarter set up Prescott’s 2-yard score. The extra point was blocked to leave
Texas A&M finally reached the end zone again late in the third on a 23-yard TD
pass to Speedy Noil, but again Mississippi State had a quick answer. Prescott
needed just five plays to march the Bulldogs 75 yards, finishing the series
with a 51-yard TD pass to Fred Brown, who outleapt a defender at the A&M 30
and raced the rest of the way untouched.
Richie Brown picked off Hill again early in the fourth quarter and Prescott
scored on an 11-yard quarterback draw just three plays later for a 48-17
cushion. The Aggies scored twice late on Hill throws of six yards to Noil and
23 yards to Reynolds.
Mississippi State gained 559 yards, breaking the 500-yard barrier for the
fifth time in as many games this season … Brown matched a school record for
interceptions in one game … It was the first matchup of top-15 teams at
Scott Field since Oct. 25 1986 when No. 7 Auburn notched a 35-6 win over No.
13 Mississippi State … The Bulldogs beat the Aggies for the first time in
three tries since A&M joined the SEC. The all-time series is now even at 4-4.