STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI/AP) — Tyler Russell completed 15 of 23 passes for 175 yards and two touchdowns to lead Mississippi State to a 56-9 win over Jackson State on Saturday night in each team’s opener.
Mississippi State finished the game with 377 yards total offense and did not punt the football until the final minute of the third quarter. Dan Mullen’s offense was at its balanced best with 183 yards passing and 194 yards rushing.
Jackson State managed 265 yards of offense and 16 first downs, but turned the ball over three times and struggled to sustain drives against a deep Bulldog defense.
On the game’s opening drive, Mississippi State moved quickly down the field before Tyler Russell hit Chad Bumphis
for a 9-yard touchdown pass. After a missed field goal attempt, Bulldog LaDarius Perkins scored touchdowns on each of the team’s next two possessions. Perkins finished the game with 50 yards on eight carries.
Tight end Marcus Green scored on a 13-yard pass from Russell late in the second quarter.
Mississippi State scored on four of its six possessions in the first half and led 35-6 at halftime, its largest first-half output since a 35-6 first half against Alcorn State in 2010.
The Bulldogs returned two Dedric McDonald interceptions for touchdowns. Darius Slay returned one for 52 yards in the first half, and sophomore Matthew Wellsran from 22 yards out in the third quarter. Mississippi State had returned two balls for scores only three other times in school history (2009 vs. Florida, 2002 vs. Memphis, and 1994 vs. Arkansas).
McDonald finished the game 14 of 27 for 136 yards and one touchdown.
Mississippi State’s Derrick Milton led all rushers with 65 yards on eight carries and one touchdown.
Receivers Arceto Clark and Jameon Lewis had three catches each to lead the Bulldogs.
Jackson State’s Rico Richardson caught a game-high seven passes, and E.J. Drewery caught a 9-yard pass in the second quarter for the Tigers’ lone touchdown of the game.