Mississippi State took control in the second quarter and never looked back in their Liberty Bowl victory over Rice on Tuesday. The game was tied, 7-7, after the first 15 minutes, but the Bulldogs outscored the Owls 37-0 the rest of the way for a 44-7 win.
Rice (10-4) opened the scoring with a 1-yard run from Charles Ross with 6:41 remaining in the first quarter, but the Owls wouldn't score again. Mississippi State (7-6) answered to tie the game with 2:01 left in the quarter thanks to a 10-yard pass from Dak Prescott to LaDarius Perkins. In the second quarter, Prescott threw for two more touchdowns and Ashton Shumpert found pay dirt on the ground to give Mississippi State a 27-7 halftime lead.
Prescott did more damage in the third quarter, scoring on runs of 5 and 11 yards. Taylor Earhart connected on a 20-yard field goal with 4:45 left in the game to complete the scoring.
The Bulldogs defense smothered the Owls, holding Rice to 145 total yards.
Box Score Hero: Prescott put up huge numbers, completing 17-of-28 passes for 283 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions. He also added 78 rushing yards and two scores on 14 carries.
Rankings Ramifications: Neither team was ranked coming in, and neither will be ranked now that the game is over.
But Did They Cover? Mississippi State was a seven-point favorite, and the Bulldogs had that covered by halftime.