EditorsNote: Edit 1: Shortened headline, cleared up multiple time sequences throughout
Nick Fitzgerald threw four touchdown passes as No. 18 Mississippi State routed visiting Louisiana Tech 45-3 in a non-conference game Saturday night.
Fitzgerald, a senior known more for his running than his passing, completed 17 of 28 for 243 yards and connected with Stephen Guidry, Deddrick Thomas, Kylin Hill and Jesse Jackson for first-half touchdown passes as the Bulldogs rolled to a 31-3 halftime lead.
Mississippi State (6-3) won for the third time in four games since a two-game losing streak temporarily knocked it out of the Top 25. The Bulldogs return to SEC action when they play No. 1 Alabama at Tuscaloosa, Ala., next week. Louisiana Tech, which had won its last three games, fell to 6-3.
The Bulldogs extended their halftime lead when they scored their first rushing touchdown on Aeris Williams’ 29-yard run with 4:12 left in the third quarter.
Keytaon Thompson replaced Fitzgerald and added a 19-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter to make it 45-3.
Mississippi State turned more to the run in the second half and finished with 289 yards. Fitzgerald led the way with 107 yards on 18 rushes as he had a hand in 350 of the team’s 532 total yards.
Louisiana Tech had just 238 yards, including 98 yards passing from junior quarterback J’Mar Smith, who completed 14 of his 30 passes. Freshman Aaron Allen came in and threw an interception on his only attempt.
Fitzgerald threw touchdown passes of 11 yards to Guidry and 36 yards to Thomas as Mississippi State took a 14-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
Bailey Hale kicked a 46-yard field goal for Louisiana Tech’s points, but Fitzgerald answered with a 23-yard touchdown pass to Hill to give the Bulldogs a 21-3 lead after the first quarter.
Jace Christmann made a 47-yard field goal to increase Mississippi State’s lead to 24-3 with 5:23 to play in the second quarter.
Fitzgerald threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Jackson to close out the first-half scoring.
He distributed his completions among nine receivers.
—Field Level Media