TROY, Ala. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) - Thanks to career nights from LaDarius Perkins, Chad Bumphis and Darius Slay, the Mississippi State Bulldogs (3-0) avoided upset Saturday night, defeating the Troy Trojans 30-24.
Perkins and Bumphis combined for over 440 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns to help the Bulldogs to victory. Perkins amassed a career-high 179 yards and a rushing touchdown, while Bumphis added 180 yards and three touchdowns through the air.
For the first time in MSU history, the Bulldogs had a running back and a receiver total 175-plus yards each in a game. Bumphis also tied school records for touchdown receptions in a game (3) and career (17) with his three Saturday night.
On the defensive side, Slay tacked on two interceptions and a fumble recovery, leading the Bulldog defense to four forced turnovers.
After a field goal on MSU's second possession, Troy drove down the field for a touchdown and the early lead. A Perkins' 30-yard touchdown scamper following a muffed punt by the Trojans put the Bulldogs on top again, a lead State would not relinquish.
Early in the second quarter, Bumphis took a screen pass 72 yards for his first touchdown of the night. The Bulldogs missed the extra point, keeping the lead at 16-7. Nearing the end of the first half, Tyler Russell again connected with Bumphis on a 58-yard play-action pass that gave the Bulldogs a 23-7 lead at halftime.
Troy struck back in the second half, starting with a four-yard touchdown rush for the lone score in the third quarter. With the fourth quarter looming, Troy was only nine points back and looking to strike.
Trojan Justin Albert then reeled off a 31-yard touchdown run to start the fourth, cutting the MSU lead to just two at 23-21 with 12:40 left on the clock, and Troy was right back in the contest.
With the Bulldogs needing an answer on offense, MSU assembled a 12-play, 74-yard drive. On the second fourth-down conversion of the drive, Russell connected with Bumphis for the third time on the evening as he just got a foot inside the back boundary of the end zone, widening State's lead back to nine at 30-21.
Troy's offense then put together another solid drive, but stalled in MSU territory, coming away with a 40-yard field goal to trim the lead back to within a score at 30-24.
But MSU took over and was able to run out the clock thanks to the pounding running game led by Perkins.
Russell led the Bulldogs in passing, throwing for 244 yards and three touchdowns, continuing his impressive junior campaign.
Defensively, Cameron Lawrence had 13 tackles to lead all Bulldogs.