MSU piles up huge offensive numbers in securing blowout

Mississippi State running back Aeris Williams looks around for an official signal after scoring against Louisiana.

Staff Writer

As Joe Moorhead’s first Mississippi State offense continues to take shape, so does the efficiency in which it is built.

The No. 16 Bulldogs have had their lapses in the first part of the schedule, but Saturday proved the progressiveness continues. State went over 500 yard for the third-straight game, which was the first time since doing it back in 2014. It all led to a 56-10 blowout over Louisiana that moved it to 3-0.

The 607 yards were the sixth-most in a single game in Bulldog history. Most impressively of Moorhead is the fact that he owns two of the seven games in which State has eclipsed 600 or more yards and he’s done that in his first three games.

“We’re in the direction we want to be headed,” Moorhead said. “Offensively, we operate at the highest level when we’re able to run the ball and complete passes at a high percentage. I’d venture to guess we hit the explosive plays we wanted to hit and didn’t hurt ourselves with penalties.”

The Bulldogs were so dominant, they scored on each of their first six drives and on eight of its 11 drives total, with one of those being a kneel down to end the game.

MSU leads the league in rushing yards per game and put up 331 yards on Saturday for the second-straight 300-yard performance in as many weeks. It was relatively balanced with Nick Fitzgerald going for 107 yards and four touchdowns on 15 carries. He moved into fourth place in school history with 2,752 yards and is at 37 career touchdowns on the ground, lacking just five scores from the school record.

The Bulldogs also got Aeris Williams back in the mix. After just two carries in the first game and failing to play a down at Kansas State, Williams exploded for 101 yards on just 11 carries and a score.

“I was out there just running the ball like I always do,” Williams said. “It was a team win last week and that’s all I’m looking for. I’m all about the team. Whatever it takes for us to be successful from here on out, that’s what I’m going to do.”

Following a completion percentage that hovered 40 percent the last two weeks, MSU quarterbacks were sharp on Saturday throwing it as well. Fitzgerald went 14-of-21 for 243 yards and two touchdowns as he found nine different receivers. Keith Mixon led the way with four catches for 80 yards and a touchdown.

State was also nearly flawless on third downs as it converted 8-of-11 and improved to 22-of-36 for the season through three games.

It was a well-oiled performance as State continues the trend up offensively under Moorhead. Even with the blowout win and out-gaining the Ragin’ Cajuns by nearly 300 yards, Moorhead wants to be better as Southeastern Conference play begins next Saturday at Kentucky.

“I’m pleased with where we’re at but definitely not satisfied,” Moorhead said. “We’re going to look at the film and find a ton to correct and that’s a good thing. If you’re not getting better, you’re falling back.”

Bulldogs honor Wilcox

The MSU family took a hit on June 25 when freshman softball player Alex Wilcox passed away from a battle with ovarian cancer. The support for Wilcox began within her team with a teal flag in the outfield that read, “No One Fights Alone.”

On Saturday, the football team showed that same support as sophomore running back Kylin Hill led the team on to the field with a flag with that same mantra. MSU also had teal ribbon stickers on their helmet in support for Wilcox’s memory and for the fight against cancer.

“I think it was tremendous that we were able to honor Alex Wilcox for what she meant to this university and to her teammates,” Moorhead said. “I thought we did a great job of remembering her this week.”

MSU continued their tribute to Wilcox at halftime with the band’s formation of the No. 8 and the official retirement of that number by head coach Vann Stuedeman.

Wilcox will have a memorial at the Chapel of Memories on campus today at 10 a.m.  

Ackerman native gets
moment in Starkville

Former Choctaw County High School player Ja’Marcus Bradley got a chance to make plays on a field that was near to his heart and his home as a youngster.

An All-Area performer during his time with the Chargers, Bradley got to work on Saturday against the Bulldogs. He caught two passes for just 2 yards, but his second haul was a 4-yard touchdown reception that gave him his personal moment.