Mississippi State rolls over Kentucky 45-7

Bulldogs improve to 5-2.

Posted: Nov 7, 2017 8:41 AM

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) - In front of 58,963 fans at Davis Wade Stadium, Mississippi State (5-2, 2-2 SEC) put on one of its best performances of the year to beat Kentucky (5-2, 2-2) by a final score of 45-7 on Saturday.

After the Bulldog defense got a stop on the first drive of the game, MSU's offense followed up by driving 78 yards in 12 plays to go up 7-0, a lead MSU would never relinquish.

Junior quarterback Nick Fitzgerald was the star of the game for MSU, completing 18-of-26 passes for 155 yards and one touchdown, while also rushing 12 times for 115 yards and two touchdowns. Fitzgerald's leading receiver was senior wideout Donald Gray, who caught six passes for 51 yards.

Aeris Williams had snother soliid day on the ground with 71 rushing yards on 20 carries. Bulldog backup signal caller Keytaon Thompson added 65 yards on just four carries, including touchdown jaunts of nine and 40 yards.

The Bulldogs had a particularly strong defensive performance under defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, breaking up five passes in the first half alone and totaling three sacks and seven tackles for loss over the course of the game. With the best performance of his MSU career, junior defensive end Montez Sweat racked up seven tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks, while also being credited with a quarterback hurry.

Junior safety Mark McLaurin was also a standout performer for State, accruing a team-leading 11 tackles, two pass break-ups and a forced fumble. Linebacker Gerri Green got in on the fun as well, picking off a second-half Wildcat pass and returning it 84 yards for a score.

The Bulldogs hit the road next Saturday, Oct. 28, travelling to meet SEC Western Division foe Texas A&M (5-2, 3-1 SEC) in College Station, Texas. The game will kickoff at 6:15 p.m. CT and be televised nationally by ESPN.

MSU HEAD COACH DAN MULLEN QUOTES

Opening Statement
"I am really pleased at how our guys came out there. I thought we had a really good week at practice. I challenged them to come out there and play their best game with some great intensity for four quarters and come out there and play hard. I thought we came out pretty solid in the first half, but I really challenged them to take it to another level in the second half, and I think they did that. Our guys really cranked it up at half time and did the things they needed to do to win a game. They put together a huge drive to start the second half, manage the game and they did a good job of controlling the line of scrimmage. That was an excellent team we just played in Kentucky. You watch them on film. The plays they have, the scheme what they have. They have really good players, and I know Mark does a good job. We talk about the home-field advantage and our fans really gave us a home field advantage. I thought it was a great atmosphere and that is a big factor. Obviously, being able to play home in the SEC gives us a big edge, and I think that really helped today."
 
On the challenge on the defensive backs …
"There were some times they took some shots and it was one on one and 50-50 balls. We won the 50-50 balls today and that is a big deal in a game. You are going to look back on it, both sides. I think offensively we won 50-50 balls today, and I think that is a huge deal in the course of a game. Willie Gay played right before half time. On the third-and-one they took a shot down the field. That really changes the game and gives us momentum to go down and score. Also knowing we get the ball back at the start of the second half was a big play."
 
On the overall team performance and this win…
"I thought it was a really solid day in all three phases against a really good team. We were able to take them out of what makes them feel comfortable and put pressure on them. Getting the lead in the first part, you have two teams that like to run the ball, run play action and control the pace of the game. I think that first drive helped us to get up early and helped us be the pace setters of the game on our side."
 
On how he think Nick played today…
"I thought he did a really good job. He made some great plays. I think he missed a couple. I told him it was one of those six-to-12 inch days. He had great reads, great checks, got us into the right plays. He managed the game. On a couple of throws we were about six to 12 inches off. In fact, you could take that ball and move it about six to 12 inches in a different direction and he probably would've have a couple more touchdown passes. I think that is the consistency and performance that he continues to improve on, but I was pleased with his decision and play making all day. I think with a lot of players, just managing the game and getting us into the right plays and the right checks, knowing how to use the clock and how to manage the game against the defense. When to take a shot down the field, when to check it down, those are things that goes unnoticed and that he doesn't get credit for that I think I really see him improving in."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 320174

Reported Deaths: 7390
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22294271
Hinds20755424
Harrison18450317
Rankin13923282
Jackson13733249
Madison10273225
Lee10063176
Jones8473167
Forrest7837153
Lauderdale7263242
Lowndes6523150
Lamar636288
Lafayette6314121
Washington5427138
Bolivar4841133
Panola4671110
Oktibbeha466398
Pearl River4606148
Marshall4574105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc425973
Monroe4162136
Union415877
Neshoba4065180
Lincoln4009113
Hancock387687
Leflore3516125
Tate342586
Sunflower339491
Pike3373111
Alcorn327474
Scott320374
Yazoo314571
Adams308486
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma299084
Simpson298689
Tippah292268
Prentiss284261
Leake272374
Marion271280
Covington267283
Wayne264842
Grenada264087
George252451
Newton249064
Tishomingo232369
Winston230282
Jasper222148
Attala215173
Chickasaw210659
Holmes190574
Stone188733
Clay187954
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174232
Yalobusha167940
Smith164134
Walthall135447
Greene131834
Lawrence131224
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127538
Amite126342
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108334
Tunica108127
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96729
Franklin85023
Quitman82316
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69632
Jefferson66328
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 549013

Reported Deaths: 11311
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson810461571
Mobile42145831
Madison35718525
Tuscaloosa26179458
Shelby25626254
Montgomery25089614
Baldwin21901314
Lee16287176
Calhoun14724327
Morgan14639285
Etowah14183364
Marshall12454230
Houston10791287
Elmore10301214
Limestone10188157
St. Clair10161251
Cullman9958201
Lauderdale9612250
DeKalb8977190
Talladega8462184
Walker7341280
Autauga7242113
Jackson6953113
Blount6950139
Colbert6415140
Coffee5638127
Dale4930116
Russell454941
Chilton4478116
Franklin431782
Covington4279122
Tallapoosa4144155
Escambia401880
Chambers3728124
Dallas3610158
Clarke353161
Marion3245107
Pike314578
Lawrence3134100
Winston283572
Bibb268564
Geneva258481
Marengo250665
Pickens237062
Barbour234559
Hale227178
Butler224671
Fayette218962
Henry194443
Randolph187644
Cherokee187345
Monroe180641
Washington170739
Macon163051
Clay160159
Crenshaw156357
Cleburne153644
Lamar146937
Lowndes142254
Wilcox126930
Bullock124542
Conecuh113630
Coosa111629
Perry108626
Sumter105832
Greene93634
Choctaw62125
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