No. 12 Mississippi State (5-0, 2-0 SEC) is making some noise in the SEC West, and it is not just the ringing of the cowbells that is being heard. A dominating performance Saturday afternoon at the expense of No. 6 Texas A&M (5-1, 2-1 SEC) has put Mississippi State in front of the SEC West race. Mississippi State sent Texas A&M with its first loss of the season, a 48-31 setback.
Mississippi State’s offense was locked in with Dak Prescott leading the charging and adding fuel to his Heisman campaign. Prescott accounted for five touchdowns in the victory, including three on the ground. Prescott passed for 241 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 77 yards and three more scores. Prescott even caught a pass for a gain of 11 yards in the first half. In a week that was damaging to the Heisman hype for Oregon’s Marcus Mariota and Texas A&M’s Kenny Hill took a tumble, Prescott should be more of a routine name in the discussion. Prescott’s body of work so far is as good as anyone else’s, if not better.
Prescott will get plenty of attention, but Mississippi State’s defense had everything working for them as well. Texas A&M’s young quarterback Kenny Hill was under pressure and put in positions to make some poor decisions throughout the afternoon, and the Bulldogs took advantage. Richie Brown intercepted Hill three times, the first time a Mississippi State player recorded three interceptions in a game since 2005.
Let’s now start to take some time to seriously consider Mississippi State as a legitimate threat out of the SEC. In their last two games Mississippi State has been in control on the road at LSU and at home against Texas A&M. Both schools were ranked in the top 10 at the time of the loss to Mississippi State, and Auburn rolls into town next weekend. If Auburn holds off LSU tonight, the Tigers will be Mississippi State’s third straight top-10 opponent. If Dan Mullen‘s team continues to play the way they have, they are ready for the challenge that will come from Auburn, and later against Alabama (and Ole Miss?).
It is still important to take the season one game at a time of course. Mississippi State has struggled to get over the hump against the elite teams in Mullen’s career, but they certainly look equipped to do just that this season.