Mississippi St rolls past Northwestern St
Published 10:50 pm Saturday, September 19, 2015
STARKVILLE – Dak Prescott’s leisurely afternoon at Davis Wade Stadium consisted of very little drama and a 21st school record.
When it was over, Mississippi State had a lopsided 62-13 victory over Northwestern State and Prescott, the program’s senior quarterback, was the school’s all-time leader in career passing yards.
Prescott threw for 227 yards and two touchdowns, completing his first nine passes as the Bulldogs jumped out to a 20-0 lead in the first quarter and a 34-6 advantage by halftime.
It was a much needed performance after a disappointing home loss to LSU last weekend. Now Mississippi State (2-1) has two straight Southeastern Conference road games against Auburn and Texas A&M.
“We’re headed in the right direction,” Prescott said.
Mississippi State’s box score was full of good performances: Gabe Myles caught a touchdown pass and ran for another score, Donald Gray caught four passes for 140 yards and a touchdown and the Bulldogs’ 647 total yards set a school record.
Prescott broke the school’s career passing yards record on a 45-yard completion to Gray in the second quarter. He now has 6,382 career yards, pushing him past Wayne Madkin’s mark of 6,336, which was set in 2001.
“It’s all cool,” Prescott said. “I really don’t think about the records I’ve broken or what it really means. We’ve still got a long year to go.”
Northwestern State (0-3), which plays at the Football Championship Subdivision level, is 0-20 all-time against teams from the Southeastern Conference. The Demons had occasional success running the ball and finished with 257 total yards.
The game was never in doubt with Mississippi State scoring its first touchdown 99 seconds into the first quarter on Prescott’s 49-yard pass to Myles.
Mississippi State had a few sloppy moments – like two lost fumbles in the second quarter – but was generally efficient in building its big halftime lead.
With the scoreboard showing plenty of good news, some individual performances by Mississippi State players were also encouraging as the Bulldogs prepare for a more difficult schedule during the coming weeks.
Starting running back Ashton Shumpert ran for 55 yards and a touchdown, averaging more than six yards per carry. He had just 68 yards rushing in the first two games combined.
Myles also had a breakout game, scoring his first two career touchdowns. The 6-foot-0, 192-pound sophomore has become increasingly important for the Bulldogs.
He was a productive player as a freshman, but never found the end zone. Coach Dan Mullen even joked that Myles probably holds the world record for being tackled at the 1-yard line.
“Maybe the jokes will stop now,” Myles said with a grin.
And, of course, there was Prescott, who effortlessly guided the Bulldogs’ in the first half. In addition to his passing numbers, he ran for 54 yards, including a 42-yarder late in the second quarter that set up the team’s final touchdown before halftime.
He now owns essentially every meaningful school passing record.
“He’s a program changing player,” Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said. “And I say that not just in what he does on the field, but also off the field … We have a player that is a national household name. So that’s really a program-changing deal.”
By DAVID BRAND, AP Sports Writer