Mississippi State (6-3, 2-3) handled business against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (6-3, 4-1) on Saturday night, winning 45-3.
MSU came out firing, and Tech had no answers. MSU scored on every possession it had in the first half, recording four touchdowns and a field goal. Tech was only able to get a field goal, and trailed 31-3 at the halftime break.
Mississippi State slowed down in the second half, but that was mostly due to the game being clearly in hand. Louisiana Tech, meanwhile, was shut out in the second half.
J’Mar Smith threw 14/30 for 98 yards, but Tech did manage to scrape together 140 rushing yards. Kam McKnight led the way with 59 yards, while Jaqwis Dancy only had three carries. He was shaken up in the first half, so the coaches may have decided not to put him back in during a blow out.
Louisiana Tech made it to the red zone just once, but were stopped on fourth down. This was only the second time all season Tech had failed to score in the red zone. The first was last week against FAU thanks to a missed field goal.
Nick Fitzgerald had 107 rushing yards, but he also threw for 243 yards and four touchdowns. Throwing the ball had been MSU’s weakness, but it was not a problem in this game. They added 289 total rushing yards for an impressive offensive performance against the Bulldogs from Ruston.
For the most part, it was a clean game. The two teams combined for just eight penalties, and the only turnover of the game was an interception by MSU late in the fourth quarter, which came on a tipped ball thrown by Tech backup quarterback Aaron Allen.
This game was a gut punch for the Bulldogs in red, but there are still opportunities for this team the rest of the way. Tech is favored in all three of its remaining games according to FPI, two of them by 90 percent or more. A home date with Rice (1-9, 0-6) will provide a nice opportunity for the Dawgs to bounce back.