Tyler Russell came to Mississippi State as the highly-touted quarterback from Meridan who had slain South Panola and would finally give the Bulldogs a legit passing threat. While his career had its ups and downs, he fulfilled that potential as he leaves Starkville holding many passing records.
Russell redshirted in 2009 behind Tyson Lee and Chris Relf. When he got his first chance to get on the field he shined, throwing 4 TD vs. Memphis in 2010. Tyler stayed behind Relf during the resurgent ’10 season only playing in mop-up duty, throwing for 635 yards, 5 TD and 6 INT.
Relf was set to be the starting QB in 2011 as well, and held that duty until the middle of the season when he struggled at UAB. State was down 3-0 at halftime to a very very poor Blazer team, but Russell came in for the second half and quickly lead MSU to a 21-3 win. The next week, vs. #15 South Carolina, he started and played the full game – nearly completing the upset. For the rest of the year both quarterbacks alternated but Relf shined in the Egg Bowl and Music City Bowl.
2012 was Russell’s year. He was the QB from day 1 to the end of the season. He shattered the record for most TD passes in a season with 24 (old record was 16). He also broke the record for passing yardage, attempts, completions, efficiency and YPG. His passing ability was something MSU football had never seen before. Russell could sling it. State went on to a 8-5 season.
This year he came in as the unquestioned leader of the team, and starting QB. Unfortunately things were side-tracked due to injury. He went down in game one, missed the next three, and with the emergence of Dak Prescott he never really got his spot back. What’s more, he injured his ankle vs. UK, shoulder vs. Alabama, and then he was really knocked up at Arkansas, forcing him to miss the Egg Bowl. But that gutsy performance in Little Rock is a major reason why we are able to go to bowling this year.
Dan Mullen’s spread option system didn’t exactly fit Russell’s skills, but he did perform very well for MSU. He holds the career record for touchdown passes, passing efficiency and is currently 2nd in career completion percentage. He will break the single-season completion percentage record by a good 5% this year.
Tyler Russell is true maroon. He has never wavered, and has been a source of positive support for the team and the man who took his job: Dak Prescott. It was great to see him at midfield as the Egg Bowl went into overtime. Arm in a sling, but still out there for his team as the captain. Grass of DWS had a good story on his maturity yesterday.
For his career, Tyler is 410 of 699 (58.7%) for 5,441 yards, 42 TD, 23 INT. Unfortunately Tyler’s career is over. He underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder on Tuesday. Thanks for your time as a Bulldog, and good luck going forward!