For Southern Miss faithful their trip to Starkville could not get rockier than the first 16 minutes of the contest between them and the Bulldogs. For Bulldog faithful, they likely loved what they saw from transfer quarterback Tommy Stevens. Stevens started the contest 9-9 for 105 yards with two touchdown passes in their first two possessions.
The Bulldogs scored with just over nine minutes remaining in the first quarter when Stevens found Osirus Mitchell for a 28-yard touchdown. To start the second quarter, Stevens threw an 11-yard dart to Stephen Guidry for another Bulldog score to put Mississippi State up 14-0.
Things did get tense for the Bulldogs though as both Tommy Stevens and Kylin Hill fell victim to injuries as the closing minutes occurred in the first half of the contest. Still, Nick Gibson subbed in for Hill and scored on a 13-yard rushing touchdown to put Mississippi State up 21-0 before halftime.
After halftime, freshman quarterback Garrett Shrader took control of the Bulldog offense along with a returning Hill. Shrader led a nine-play, 58-yard drive that was capped off with a three-yard rush touchdown from Hill to give the Bulldogs a 28-0 lead over Southern Miss.
The Golden Eagles responded later in the third quarter when Jack Abraham found wide receiver Jaylond Adams on a 28-yard touchdown pass to draw within three scores. With 6:31 left in the contest Abraham found Jordan Mitchell for a 65-yard touchdown pass to bring the score to 31-15 after a successful two-point conversion.
Mississippi State put the stamp on the game when Martin Emerson intercepted Abraham, returning the ball to the Golden Eagles 22-yard line. Two plays later, Lee Witherspoon found the endzone from 22-yards out to put the Bulldogs up 38-15 and seal the victory.
Mississippi State quarterback Tommy Stevens did not return to the game after being sacked late in the second quarter.
Southern Miss scored their first touchdown in Starkville since the 1990 season where Mississippi State won 13-10.
Kylin Hill is the first running back to go over 100 rushing yards on the Southern Miss defense in two seasons.
Three Bulldogs scored rushing touchdowns in the game as Hill, Witherspoon, and Gibson found the endzone each.
Tommy Stevens - 9/10, 105 yards, 2 touchdowns
Kylin Hill - 14 carries, 123 yards, 1 touchdown
Osirus Mitchell - 2 receptions, 46 yards, 1 touchdown
Jack Abraham - 18-26, 234 yards, 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions
Kevin Perkins - 5 attempts, 51 yards
Jordan Mitchell - 6 receptions, 94 yards, 1 touchdown