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(Saturday, September 22nd)
Final Score: (23) Mississippi State 30, South Alabama 10
Starkville, MS (Sports Network) - Mississippi State rushed for a trio of touchdowns on Saturday, as the 23rd-ranked Bulldogs defeated South Alabama, 30-10, at Davis Wade Stadium.
LaDarius Perkins led the Mississippi State ground attack with 69 yards and a score on 11 carries, while quarterbacks Dak Prescott and Tyler Russell added a rushing touchdown apiece for the Bulldogs (4-0), who are undefeated through four weeks for the first time since 1999.
Russell finished 13-of-27 passing for 171 yards and an interception and Brandon Heavens hauled in three passes for 55 yards to help MSU win its 14th straight game against a non-conference opponent.
"I wasn't real happy with our overall performance today, but 50 percent of the people in the country are very sad right now and we get to be happy," Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen remarked.
C.J. Bennett went 14-of-26 passing for 154 yards, one touchdown and one interception in place of starter Ross Metheny, who completed just 8-of-17 passes for 70 yards and an interception.
Greg Hollinger hauled in Bennett's lone touchdown score, as the Jaguars (1-3) dropped their final non-league contest before making their Sun Belt Conference debut next week at home against Troy.
"To be able to play with teams like Mississippi State, we have to get better," Jaguars coach Joey Jones admitted. "We are a young team. We are trying to learn and fight our way through these games. Nobody is going to feel sorry for us because we are a new program."
Mississippi State struck first in the second quarter when Perkins broke through the line and took it 44 yards for the score.
After a South Alabama punt, Russell moved the Bulldogs down the field before Prescott capped a 9-play, 80-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run to extend the margin to 14-0 midway through the second.
Devon Bell knocked a 42-yard field goal through the uprights on Mississippi State's next possession to press the lead to 17-0.
Tyrell Pearson intercepted Russell late in the second to give the Jaguars possession in MSU territory, but Nickoe Whitley picked off Metheny two plays later and returned it 66 yards to the South Alabama 26.
Bell then added another 42-yarder as time expired to send the Bulldogs into the locker room with a 20-0 advantage.
South Alabama got a 22-yard field goal from Michael Chapuseaux on the opening drive of the second half to get them on the board, but Jameon Lewis took the ensuing kickoff 49 yards to set the Bulldogs up at midfield.
Russell found Arceto Clark two plays later for 46 yards before finishing off the drive three plays later with a 1-yard plunge.
After a USA punt, Mississippi State put together a 12-play, 44-yard drive that chewed up nearly six minutes before Bell buried a 31-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter to increase the lead to 30-3.
Bennett hit Hollinger for an 18-yard touchdown pass late in the fourth to account for the final margin.
Mississippi State's school record for consecutive non-conference victories is 18, set from 1941-47 ... MSU outgained USA 356-347 ... South Alabama had 21 first downs, compared to 15 for Mississippi State.
09/23 00:16:39 ET
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