The No. 23 Mississippi State Bulldogs rolled to a 30-10 victory over South Alabama on Saturday despite playing the Jaguars to a virtual draw statistically.
The Bulldogs finished with only nine more yards of total offense than the Jaguars, and held the ball for a 1:10 less, but three South Alabama turnovers proved key in a game that was a bit closer than the final score.
Bulldogs running back LaDarius Perkins and quarterbacks Tyler Russell and Dak Prescott each ran for a touchdowns. Perkins finished with 11 carries for 69 yards, the bulk of which came on a 44-yard scamper less than three minutes into the second quarter. Nickoe Whitley and Johnthan Banks each hauled in interceptions for the Bulldogs.
Russell was unimpressive throwing the ball, completing only 13-of-27 passes for 171 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. South Alabama quarterback C.J. Bennett didn't fare much better, going 14-of-26 for 154 yards, one touchdown and an interception. Jaguars wide receiver Bryant Lavender hauled in six receptions for 80 yards.
Box Score Hero: Jameon Lewis, who averaged 45 yards on two kick returns, including one for 49 yards in the third quarter right after South Alabama scored its first points of the game. The return gave Mississippi State the ball at the 50-yard line and set up a five-play touchdown drive which increased the Bulldogs lead to 24 points and officially put the game away.
Rankings Ramifications: A home win over South Alabama is unlikely to have any impact on Mississippi State's ranking.
But Did They Cover? Mississippi State was favored to win by 31.5 or 32 points, so they did not cover. And the combined score didn't quite top the over/under of 47.5 points.
Next Week's Schedule: Mississippi State travels to Kentucky on Oct. 6th. South Alabama hosts Troy next week.