Rapid reaction: Dominating Mississippi State defense smothers Stephen F. Austin
Led by a smothering defense, Mississippi State opened the Joe Moorhead era in style with a 63-6 win over Stephen F. Austin.
In the first half alone, the Bulldogs had 11 different players record at least a half tackle for a loss, 13 total, highlighted by 3.5 from Jeffery Simmons. By early in the third quarter, they had four sacks and 14 tackles for a loss. They held Stephen F. Austin to 3-for-17 overall on third down, and just 44 rushing yards on 35 attempts.
On offense, it was the big play that told the story in the first half, as QB Keytaon Thompson had touchdown passes of 53 and 84 yards. Then, he faked the entire defensive line on a read-option play to score on a nine-yard run as State led 21-0 after the first quarter. The Bulldogs didn’t need to punt until they were already up by 32. With Nick Fitzgerald out because of a suspension, Thompson didn’t allow as much as a hiccup for the offense.
With a 25-yard TD run early in the fourth quarter, Thompson tied an SEC record for seven TDs responsible for in a game: five passing and two rushing. He joined notable company, too. The only other QBs in Mississippi State history with five TD passes in a single game are Dak Prescott and Fitzgerald. Thompson finished 13-for-31 for 364 yards passing, and 10 carries for 109 rushing yards.
By halftime, State rang up 400 yards of offense, while Thompson was 9-for-19 passing for 263 yards, four touchdowns, and 75 yards with a TD. Ultimately, 12 different wide receivers caught passes.
But Osirus Mitchell delivered the big plays, with his first two receptions, both touchdowns, accounted for 114 yards.
Mississippi State will travel to Kansas State next week.