A rapid reaction to Mississippi State’s convincing 51-0 win over Vanderbilt on Saturday:

What it means: Mississippi State’s win on Saturday means the Bulldogs’ season is back on track after it was derailed last week in a loss to Alabama. The Bulldogs were fortunate to face the Vanderbilt following their first loss of the year, and they looked as sharp as they have all season in SEC play against an overmatched Commodores team. Mississippi State is moving in the right direction again, and it has a positive aura about it heading into Week 14, which could make all the difference on the road against arch-rival Ole Miss in the regular season finale.

What I liked: Mississippi State’s commitment to the run. The Bulldogs took a pass-heavy approach on offense against Alabama, and it cost them in one of their worst offensive showings of the season. This week, however, Mississippi State ran the ball 51 times compared to just 25 passes, and it averaged 5.5 yards per carry while amassing 283 yards rushing and two touchdowns for the game. When Mississippi State runs the ball well, it normally scores points in bunches. This week’s win over Vanderbilt was no exception.

What I didn’t like: Dan Mullen’s lineup management coming out of halftime with a 37-0 lead. Mullen allowed Prescott to play the first three drives of the second half even though his Bulldogs already had a victory safely in-hand. Mississippi State had little to gain at that point in the game, but it could have lost a great deal had Prescott gotten hurt a week before the Egg Bowl. The Bulldogs avoided a devastating injury and won comfortably over Vandy, but Mullen’s decision to play Prescott and the other starters into the third quarter was a high-risk, low-reward move.

Key play: Trailing 13-0 early in the second quarter, Vanderbilt executed one of its best plays of the day when quarterback Johnny McCrary found wideout Latevius Rayford over the middle of the field for a first down near the midfield stripe. Unfortunately for the Dores, Mississippi State linebacker Christian Holmes swooped in and grabbed for the ball as Rayford tried to tuck it away and turn upfield. Holmes stripped the ball and immediately began charging down the right sideline, eventually diving past the pylon for a Mississippi State touchdown, extending the lead to 20-0 at the time. The play was not only Holmes’ second touchdown of the season, but it also broke the game wide open. To that point in the action, Vandy had remained within striking distance on the scoreboard, but following the strip-and-score by Holmes Mississippi State put the game out of reach for good on its way to a 51-point victory.

Who’s the man: Dak Prescott was the man against Vandy following his worst performance of the season last week against Alabama. He completed 76 percent of his throws for three touchdowns and zero interceptions against the Dores, and he ran for 30 yards and a touchdown at five yards per carry. Prescott had thrown eight interceptions in his last four games, but his dominant performance on Saturday should restore his edge heading into next week’s season finale and the bowl game that will follow.

What’s next: The Bulldogs will close the regular season next week in their highly anticipated Egg Bowl showdown with Ole Miss in Oxford, Miss. The two Magnolia State rivals are heading in two different directions, as MSU enters with a 10-1 record and a shot at an SEC West crown, while Ole Miss enters Saturday’s game off three straight SEC losses, including a 30-0 loss to Arkansas in Week 13. Mississippi State won last year’s Egg Bowl in an overtime thriller in Starkville.