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.

Confirmed Cases: 113876

Reported Deaths: 3238
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7894177
DeSoto693279
Harrison512983
Jackson450384
Rankin389486
Madison381293
Lee351479
Forrest300778
Jones289184
Washington256499
Lafayette248343
Lauderdale2437134
Lamar224238
Oktibbeha200854
Bolivar200477
Neshoba1842111
Lowndes178362
Panola169139
Leflore165887
Sunflower160949
Warren154355
Monroe148172
Pontotoc146119
Marshall141229
Lincoln138957
Pike138256
Copiah136936
Coahoma124936
Scott124929
Yazoo121733
Grenada121638
Simpson121249
Union117425
Tate116039
Leake114640
Holmes114460
Pearl River112959
Itawamba112225
Adams107343
Prentiss104819
Wayne100821
Alcorn98712
George97918
Covington97026
Marion94642
Tippah88922
Newton85627
Chickasaw84026
Tallahatchie84025
Winston83321
Hancock81628
Tishomingo80041
Attala79026
Clarke74351
Clay68421
Jasper67917
Walthall63827
Calhoun62212
Noxubee59617
Smith59116
Montgomery54323
Claiborne53716
Tunica52917
Yalobusha52614
Lawrence51214
Perry48723
Carroll48012
Greene47318
Stone46414
Humphreys42816
Amite42113
Quitman4196
Jefferson Davis40511
Webster37013
Wilkinson33720
Benton3335
Kemper32215
Sharkey28314
Jefferson27510
Franklin2403
Choctaw2056
Issaquena1074
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 155915

Reported Deaths: 2674
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22988375
Mobile16788315
Tuscaloosa10235140
Montgomery9978197
Madison922894
Shelby727463
Baldwin661569
Lee651765
Marshall437249
Calhoun422461
Etowah421450
Morgan407135
Houston371734
DeKalb336029
Elmore317353
St. Clair289142
Limestone279730
Walker275593
Talladega263635
Cullman239925
Lauderdale218042
Jackson212515
Franklin203231
Autauga203030
Colbert198731
Russell19283
Blount191125
Dallas186327
Chilton185832
Coffee173211
Escambia172230
Covington171429
Dale166551
Chambers134343
Clarke133617
Pike132713
Tallapoosa131387
Marion107129
Barbour10129
Butler100240
Marengo100222
Winston91913
Geneva8617
Lawrence83732
Pickens83618
Bibb82514
Randolph82016
Hale75830
Clay73612
Washington73412
Cherokee73114
Lowndes70428
Monroe64510
Henry6436
Bullock63917
Crenshaw60330
Perry5856
Fayette56913
Wilcox56412
Conecuh56013
Cleburne5518
Macon53020
Lamar4745
Sumter47221
Choctaw39012
Greene34216
Coosa2033
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