Mississippi State overcomes slow start, routs La. Tech
Mississippi State fended off an early scare from Louisiana Tech before sailing to a 57-21 victory on Saturday in Ruston, La.
Louisiana Tech (1-1) jumped out to a 9-0 first quarter lead and appeared to have Mississippi State (2-0) on the ropes.
That was before Jeffery Simmons woke the Bulldogs from their slumber. The sophomore defensive end blocked and fell on a Brady Farlow punt in the end zone to give Mississippi State a 10-9 lead with 1:06 remaining in the first quarter.
The sophomore nose guard later added a 90-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown.
Nick Fitzgerald found his groove after Simmons’ first defensive score. The junior quarterback finished with 124 yards and three touchdown passes, despite starting the game by connecting on only 2 of 8 attempts. He responded by completing 10 straight passes.
Jordan Thomas, Gabe Myles and Donald Gray each caught touchdown passes as Mississippi State used favorable field positions and an unrelenting offense to routinely blister Louisiana Tech, including four straight scoring drives.
A peculiar first half saw four blocked kicks. Amik Robertson swatted one of the half’s three blocked PATs, taking it 76 yards for two points. The score snapped a streak of 36 unanswered points for Mississippi State, which led 36-14 at the half.
Any momentum Louisiana Tech had going for it quickly evaporated when Fitzgerald punctuated a two-play, 76-yard drive with a 44-yard touchdown scamper to begin the third quarter.
Fitzgerald closed out his night with a game-high 111 rushing yards and accounted for five touchdowns. He left the game for the second consecutive week in the third quarter with the result well in hand. Teammate Aeris Williams rushed for 107 yards, all coming in the first half. Freshman tailback Kylin Hill added 62 yards and his first career touchdown.
Kam McKnight scored on a 1-yard run and tight end Zach Cousar caught a 9-yard touchdown pass for Louisiana Tech.
The Bulldogs’ Cam Dantzler was ejected in the third quarter for targeting C.J. Powell. The Mississippi State cornerback will miss the first half of the Bulldogs’ Week 3 matchup in Starkville when they host No. 12 LSU.