Mississippi State closed one of the most successful runs in program history by dominating NC State 51-28 in the Belk Bowl Wednesday evening in Charlotte.
The star, as he has been so many times over his career, was Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott. After Wolfpack quarterback Jacoby Brissett was intercepted by Mississippi State’s Gerri Green on the first snap of the game, Prescott capped the Bulldogs’ 26-yard opening drive by finding Fred Ross for a 14-yard touchdown.
Brissett was intercepted again 10 minutes later, and again Prescott capitalized, this time hitting De’Runnya Wilson for a 39-yard gain and then a 28-yard touchdown.
Ross raced in from 33 yards out on the Bulldogs’ next possession, giving Mississippi State a 21-0 lead at the 12:17 mark of the second quarter.
NC State got off the floor with a pair of consecutive touchdowns — an 82-yard connection from Brissett to Pharoah McKever and a 48-yard Jaylen Samuels dash — but Mississippi State answered when Justin Malone hopped on the loose pigskin as Prescott rushed into the end zone.
Westin Graves knocked in a 39-yard field goal just before the end of the half, giving the Bulldogs a 31-14 edge and effectively putting the game out of reach.
Brissett posted a three-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter, but Prescott found Brandon Holloway for a pair of touchdowns, from 10 and 55 yards out, and Aeris Williams raced in for a 33-yard touchdown, pushing the advantage from 31-21 to 51-21. Samuels added a cosmetic one-yard plunge with 45 seconds remaining to complete the scoring.
For the day, Prescott hit 25-of-42 passes for 380 yards with four touchdowns and one interception while rushing 12 times for a team-leading 47 yards and one near touchdown. Wilson snatched five balls for 96 yards and a score, Holloway posted four grabs for 78 yards and two scores, and Ross finished his career with seven receptions for 74 yards and a score.
Prescott closes his career with two First Team All-SEC nods, a 23-10 record, 114 touchdowns responsible for, and status as one of only four players in FBS history to record at least 9,000 passing yards and 2,500 rushing yards.
The win gave Dan Mullen a 55-35 mark in seven seasons at Mississippi State and 19-7 with, most likely, two AP top-25 finishes over the past two seasons. The win pushed the Bulldogs to 9-4 on the season, giving the program back-to-back nine-win season for the first time ever.
NC State closed the year at 7-6. Dave Doeren closes his first three years in Raleigh at 18-20, compared to the 24-14 mark Tom O’Brien recorded in his final seasons before his 2012 firing.