At times, the Mississippi State Bulldogs looked as impressive as any team in the SEC West in its 47-34 win over UAB Saturday. But at times, the Mississippi State Bulldogs also looked like a team with flaws to be exposed down the line by, you guessed it, the SEC West.

Dak Prescott threw four touchdown passes for the second week in a row and rushed for more than 100 yards for the first time in 2014. He also completed fewer than 50 percent of his passes. The Bulldogs followed up a shutout of Southern Miss by allowing three touchdowns of 75-yards or longer. But they still won by 13, improving to 2-0 on the season.

Here are five takeaways from Mississippi State’s victory over UAB on Saturday:

  • Dak Prescott has shown all the tools in the tool belt, just not all at one time. Prescott has thrown for eight touchdowns in two games, but he completed just 12-of-25 passes and threw his second interception of the season against an average Blazers defense. He ran 18 times for 111 yards and a touchdown, and did a pretty good job of protecting himself in the process, showing the athleticism that makes him one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation. Prescott won’t be throwing the ball 40-50 times a game unless Mississippi State falls way behind its opponent, so Prescott just needs to make smart plays in the Bulldogs’ passing situations. He and Josh Robinson worked wonderfully in tandem in the run game on Saturday, but a 48 percent completion rate will not get it done in the West. Prescott is capable of playing better as a passer, as he showed last week, and if he can make use of both his arm and his legs in the same game, he will prove to be the dangerous player many expect him to be.
  • Josh Robinson is the best under-the-radar tailback in the SEC. That is some high praise for a player with only two career games as a featured back, but it is warranted. Robinson averaged nearly six yards per carry in a limited role in 2013, and he’s matching that average in 2014 with a full workload. He ran the ball 20 times for 124 yards and a touchdown against UAB, keeping him well on pace for a 1,000 yard season. As previously stated, he works very well in tandem with Prescott in the backfield, which may be his best quality within the context of this year’s offense. If there was ever any doubt as to who the Bulldogs’ starting tailback was, that discussion is now over.
  • Mississippi State’s secondary was exposed by UAB’s wide receivers. The Blazers scored three of their four touchdowns on completions of 75 yards or more, and none of the three scores was all too complicated. UAB simply has very fast receivers, and the Mississippi State secondary was beaten by those receivers on three plays. The Blazers cashed in on all three opportunities, and lost by 13 points anyway. This defense still has the talent to keep up with any offense in the conference, but Geoff Collins and company are going to have to make some adjustments when facing streaky receivers the rest of the season. Mississippi State can cover in the secondary, but UAB was simply faster, and the Bulldogs weren’t ready.
  • Preston Smith is the best instinctual football player on the MSU defense. Smith, a defensive end, now has two interceptions and a return touchdown just two weeks into his senior season. He has routinely been in the right place at the right time and has made some huge plays as a result. He knocks down passes at the line of scrimmage, is disruptive in the run game and as a pass rusher, and apparently he can play in coverage as well, as he showed with Saturday’s tremendous pick-six. Smith was in coverage well down the field from the line of scrimmage when he reached up and caught a Cody Clements’ pass with one hand, returning it 21 yards for the score. The catch and return were both tremendous, but it was his instinctual play that got him there in the first place. This will play a role time and time again for MSU this season.
  • The Bulldogs’ kickers did not look good, but Evan Sobiesk may have won the job anyway. Evan Sobiesk and Westin Graves have been battling for the place kicking responsibilities for months, and neither kicker looked sharp against the Blazers. Both players missed extra points on consecutive touchdowns in the first half, but after Graves’ miss, the first of the two misses, he was yanked from the game for good. Sobiesk had already made one extra point when he missed his, and he went on to make three more by game’s end. This is purely speculation, but that could be a sign he has won the job, for now. Mississippi State did not get to attempt a field goal, so we have no updates on that element of the kicking battle. Sobiesk has yet to attempt a field goal in 2014.