Alcorn State Game Rewind


Mississippi State got back on the winning track in Week 2 with a 51-7 victory over Alcorn State. A lot of different Bulldogs saw their first action in a maroon jersey and Dak Prescott ran the offense well, setting the stage for offensive possibilities at Auburn.

I’ll start with a quick review of the defense. After ASU’s initial 14-yard play to open the game they absolutely dominated as they should have. The D-line was in the backfield all day long. A.J. Jefferson got a bunch of playing time and stood out on many plays. Nickoe Whitley and Jamerson Love were held out as precaution and Chris Jones started at DT in place of P.J. Jones.

But there weren’t too many questions about the defense going in – the talk all week was the offense that was inept against Oklahoma State in Week 1. So how did they perform?

Obviously 556 total yards lends itself to the assumption that they got back on track and all is well. That may be somewhat true and somewhat false.

When you’re playing a team like Alcorn State it’s just easier to move the ball. Receivers can get wide open, running backs can break tackles with greater ease – bottom line, many of the plays that are successful against them would/will not be against a SEC team. So what you’re looking for is an offense that is crisp, on target, and not missing any assignments.

3rd down continues to be a problem. MSU was only 5 of 13. That mark is mediocre if it was against Auburn, it’s dreadful against Alcorn. So far this year the Dawgs are 7 of 28 – that’s not going to work. We have got to figure out how to convert on 3rd down. A start might be throwing past the line to gain…if it’s 3rd & 7 then throw it more than 7 yards downfield.

Prescott looked good as expected in the run game. His ability to move the ball on the ground himself opens up the read option game and that is something which is not there when Russell is at QB. Without a doubt he can keep the defense honest with that play. On the final TD of the first half, his fake run, pull back and nice pass to a wide open Jameon Lewis is another example of something else he can bring to the offense. As far as passing, he was 12 of 19 for 174 yards and 2 TD. He did not look like he brought much more to the passing game than Russell. He did hit a plethora of receivers, but several were inaccurate passes which were caught because the wideout had so much separation – that will not be the case next week.

LaDarius Perkins sat this game out as precaution as well and it opened the door for other guys to step in. Josh Robinson got the start but only carried 3 times. Nick Griffin and Ashton Shumpert got the lion’s share of the carries in this game. Mullen decided to burn Shumpert’s redshirt and he performed well as a north and south power back. You have to assume that if he’s going to burn that freshman year with this game then it’s not just to get his feet wet – Shump is going to play and get significant carries this year.


A. Shumpert22984.5214
N. Griffin13534.1110
J. Lewis14444.0044
B. Holloway4287.0015
D. Williams5255.0013
D. Prescott4205.0111
J. Robinson362.003
D. Milton231.513

There were some wrinkles to the offense that were not there in Houston. Not only the zone read, but the jet sweep, some two-tailback sets among others. Brandon Holloway got the ball in his hands a few times and you have to like what he brings to the table. His speed but adds an extra dimension to this offense that is sorely needed. He also nearly ran back a kickoff but was stopped inside the 5. MSU has some athletes, the question is are we going to utilize them?

Damian Williams played the 2nd half, burning his redshirt as well, and he looked surprisingly good. Mullen was basically forced to play him due to the injuries and with Russell leaving next year you need a backup who has seen the field. Williams reminded many folks of Chris Relf and not just because of his #14. He is a big kid who can run and throw. He doesn’t look like a natural passer but hey, he’s only a true freshman.

So the big question is: if Tyler Russell is healthy who should start at QB on the plains? This presents a potential advantage as Auburn now has to prepare for two totally different quarterbacks and MSU gave them plenty to study for between the ineptitude against OSU and the Prescott/Williams offense against ASU.

It’s really hard to say the offense is better with Dak Prescott running it. That’s not a knock on Russell, but if we aren’t going to call plays to keep the defense on their heels with Tyler in there, then Dak needs to be. And the zone read play, that has DC’s across the nation in the college game and the pros stumped, is Prescott’s bread and butter.

Will we run these same plays that utilize our talent against Auburn, or will we play cautious and scared? I think that may be the bigger question rather than who starts at QB. With Shump presenting himself as an option, we can use a power running game with him, Robinson and Perkins against a mediocre Auburn run defense even with Russell.

I think we’ll probably see both Russell and Prescott in Auburn. Perhaps 2 or 3 drives with Russell and then Prescott getting his own drives, start to finish. Unless Russell is blowing up their secondary hitting Wilson, Morrow and Johnson with an air raid offense we’ve never seen, I don’t know how Mullen could justify not giving Prescott a chance to do his thing against a SEC defense.

Here are the stats for this game…



1st Downs630
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Total Yards163556
Yards per pass
Rushing Attempts
Yards per rush
Fumbles lost
Interceptions thrown