MSU football notebook: Hill, Sweat earn SEC awards

Kylin Hill (8) celebrates one of his touchdowns last Saturday with his teammates.

Staff Writer

Kylin Hill’s career day and Montez Sweat’s continued dominance has earned both Mississippi State players Southeastern Conference honors following Saturday’s win over Kansas State.

On Monday, Hill was chosen as the SEC’s Offensive Player of the Week. Sweat was given the league’s Defensive Lineman of the Week award. Both Bulldogs played key roles in MSU’s 31-10 victory over the Wildcats.

Hill led all SEC running backs last weekend as he racked up a career-best 211 rushing yards. The sophomore averaged 12.4 yards per carry and accounted for a career-high three touchdowns. Hill’s 200-plus-yard rushing effort was just the ninth-such game in Bulldog history and the first by an MSU running back since Anthony Dixon accomplished the feat against Kentucky back in 2009.

Hill ended Saturday with 227 all-purpose yards, which was more than Kansas State’s entire team. The Wildcats finished with 213 yards of total offense.

Sweat, who won the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week award three times last season, earned his first honor of 2018. The senior registered three tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack against Kansas State.
Sweat is now tied for the SEC lead in sacks with three and tackles for loss with 5.5. He is now in 10th place in MSU career history with 14.5 sacks – a total achieved in only 15 games played.

Team honors

In addition to Hill and Sweat’s SEC awards, MSU head coach Joe Moorhead announced Mississippi State’s weekly internal awards given out by the coaching staff during his press conference on Monday.

Hill was also selected as State’s offensive player of the week by Bulldog coaches. Meanwhile, linebacker Erroll Thompson was picked the defensive player of the week. Alec Murphy earned the accolade for his special teams work.

MSU’s scout team players of the week were running back Robert Rivers and defensive lineman Fabien Lovett, along with linebacker R.J. Jennings for his special teams work.

MSU’s academic staff selected freshman receiver Devonta Jason and freshman linebacker Nathaniel Watson as student-athletes of the week for their work in the classroom.

Injury report

A trio of Bulldogs are dealing with minor injuries coming out of the Kansas State game ahead of MSU’s meeting against Louisiana this Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

Wide receiver Jesse Jackson, cornerback Jamal Peters and offensive lineman Marlon Reese all have what Moorhead classified as upper-body injuries. He said all three players are day-to-day.

Status of Williams

Senior running back Aeris Williams saw no playing time last weekend at Kansas State. Instead, Hill and Nick Gibson served as MSU’s primary ball carriers out of the backfield.

Moorhead said Monday that Williams is healthy and that the reason he didn’t play at Kansas State was due to his work last week leading up to the game.

“On this situation, but also in general from a broad-strokes perspective, playing time on Saturday is dictated by your performance during the week and accountability and all those things,” Moorhead said. “Based on last week’s body of work, we thought it was Kylin and Nick Gibson that did the best job and deserved the repetitions on the field. I talked with Aeris and we’re going to get rolling again (starting at practice today). I expect him to have a great week and get a good amount of snaps. He’s a great kid. I love him. He’s going to have a great season moving forward.”

Filling in for Abram

Safety Johnathan Abram will be unavailable for Mississippi State during the first half of Saturday’s game against Louisiana as he serves a suspension after his targeting penalty and ejection late in the game at Kansas State.

Moorhead said Abram’s role will primarily be filled by senior Chris Rayford and sophomore C.J. Morgan.

“Those guys will pick up the slack,” Moorhead said. “Next man in.”

Helmet stickers

Moorhead is starting a new tradition at Mississippi State.

As seen on MSU’s football helmets last Saturday, players have Bulldog reward stickers on their helmets based on their prior performances. Moorhead stated Monday that stickers are only awarded when the team earns a win and additional stickers can be earned by reaching other goals.

“There’s a defined set of criteria for offense, defense and special teams,” Moorhead said. “It’s one (sticker) for a win, it’s two for a road win, then there are numerical and statistical benchmarks with a little subjectivity in it for a game-changing play. Our coaches have the sheet. When they go through the film, they hand it to the director of football operations who gives it to our equipment guy.”

Kentucky kickoff

It was announced Monday that MSU’s Sept. 22 game at Kentucky will kick off at 6 p.m. The contest will be televised by either ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.