Kylin Hill

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Mississippi State players say Joe Moorhead isn’t leaving SEC for another job

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With Rutgers searching for a new head coach and Mississippi State head coach Joe Moorhead reportedly being among the top candidates to fill the vacancy, the rumor-denial season is in full swing in Starkville. Days after Moorhead deflected the idea of him leaving Mississippi State to take the Rutgers job, some of Moorhead’s players are coming to his aide to shut down the idea the coach would return to his home state.

“It’s funnier to him than anything,” Mississippi State quarterback Garrett Shrader said, according to a Mississippi Clarion Ledger report on Tuesday. “He’s not leaving an SEC West program. He’s told me that multiple times.”

“He’s our coach. He’s been the same guy,” Shrader said. “He’s passionate about this team. He’s very vocal about that. He’s not going anywhere.”

Joining Shrader in attempting to shut down the Moorhead-to-Rutgers rumor mill was running back Kylin Hill, who summed up the discussion as nothing more than the typical banter that seemingly happens during the silly season that is the coaching carousel.

“There’s always going to be outside noise,” Hill said. “That’s the world we live in today. I’m not too focused on it. Nobody’s focused on it. Everybody loves the man.”

Moorhead and Mississippi State will have their attention set on this week’s game. The Bulldogs hit the road for a game at Texas A&M on Saturday. Mississippi State is looking to even its record at 4-4.

Joe Burrow takes over LSU season TD passing record as No. 2 LSU blasts Mississippi State

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On a day that saw the program’s record book rewritten by quarterback Joe Burrow, No. 2 LSU (7-0, 3-0 SEC) pounded Mississippi State (3-4, 1-3 SEC) to the tune of 36-13 in Starkville. Four touchdown passes saw Burrow move into first place in LSU program history for the most passing touchdowns in a season,.

Burrow, with at least five games left to play this season, has thrown 29 touchdown passes this season. His 29th, an 18-yard pass to Justin Jefferson to put the Bulldogs up 36-7 in the third quarter, moved him past Matt Mauck and JaMarcus Russell. Mauck set the LSU school record of 28 touchdown passes during the 2003 season. Russell tied the mark a few years later in 2006. Burrow has five more regular-season games to play, and as many as three more on top of that if things go well for the Tigers; LSU could play in the SEC Championship Game and as many as two postseason games after that in the College Football Playoff. In other words, Burrow is going to obliterate the old record and leave it in the dust before he gets to his final number, regardless of if the Tigers play for the SEC title or in the playoff for the first time in school history.

Burrow, who ended his afternoon with 327 yards and four touchdowns before getting an early rest, was just one half of the dominance against the Bulldogs. LSU forced three Mississippi State turnovers, leading to 10 points by LSU’s offense. LSU also held the Bulldogs to just three third-down conversions in 11 attempts, and Mississippi State was 0-for-2 on fourth down. Mississippi State running back Kylin Hill was limited to 34 rushing yards on 15 carries, and quarterback Garrett Shrader had a rough afternoon completing 12 of 21 passes for 168 yards with two interceptions (he did rush for 61 yards and a touchdown as well).

While a mega matchup with Alabama is coming into view on the horizon, LSU has some other business to attend to first, and it is hardly something to look past. LSU returns home next week to host No. 11 Auburn, who dominated Arkansas earlier in the day. Auburn will arrive in Baton Rouge with a 6-1 record overall and 3-1 mark within the SEC. LSU will get a bye week after facing Auburn, which will then lead to the big road game at Alabama. In brief, the SEC West has some big games the next few weeks.

As for Mississippi State, any wild card shot at the division crown is long gone now.

Now, the quest to get to a bowl game is beginning to fall into some slight jeopardy. Mississippi State players their next two games on the road against Texas A&M (next week) and Arkansas (Nov. 2). They also still have to play Alabama. If Mississippi State goes any worse than 1-2 in their next three games, a bowl game may come down to having to win in the Egg Bowl against Ole Miss in the final game of the regular season.

Big plays ignite Iowa to halftime lead on Mississippi State in Outback Bowl

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Mississippi State seemed to start the game off well on defense, but big plays by Iowa’s offense and defense have stunned the Bulldogs in the first half of the Outback Bowl in Tampa. Iowa turned a 6-0 deficit after one quarter of play into a 17-6 advantage at halftime with big plays on both sides of the football.

Mississippi State cornerback Maurice Smitherman was ejected from the game early in the second quarter for targeting on Iowa’s Brandon Smith. Smith kept on his feet after the contact was made and scrambled to pick up two yards on the play by sweeping to the other side of the field, but the 15-yard penalty moved the Hawkeyes to the Mississippi State 33-yard line. The drive ended with Iowa scoring their first points of the game by way of a Miguel Recinos field goal from 43 yards.

Iowa took the lead with just one play on their next offensive series when Nate Stanley found a wide open Nick Easley down the field, and Easley took off and managed to reach the end zone for a 75-yard touchdown before a defender could close in on him with the angle.

Things got even worse for Mississippi State on the ensuing possession. Nick Fitzgerald was strip-sacked by Iowa’s A.J. Epenesa, giving the Hawkeyes the football at the Mississippi State 13-yard line. Stanley then connected with Ihmir Smith-Marsette two plays later to give Iowa a 17-6 lead.

Mississippi State looked like they had a chance to cut into the lead just before halftime, but a holding penalty at the line of scrimmage wiped out a big pass play to inside the 10-yard line.

Kylin Hill powers No. 18 Mississippi State to road win at Kansas State

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No. 18 Mississippi State (2-0) proved to be much too powerful in two key areas against Kansas State (1-1). The Bulldogs went on the road and used a strong defensive effort and a powerful performance from running back Kylin Hill to leave town with a 31-10 victory against the Wildcats. Hill rushed for 211 yards and two touchdowns and added one touchdown reception in the win, while the defense held the home team to 197 yards of total offense.

Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald made his season debut for the Bulldogs after sitting out of the season opener due to a suspension.  Fitzgerald did not light up the field with his arm (11-of-27 for 154 yards) but he did throw two touchdown passes and he made up for it with his 159 rushing yards. But the story of the game was Hill, the sophomore running back who made a name for himself against Kansas State Saturday afternoon.

At one point in the fourth quarter, Hill had more offensive production than Kansas State, demonstrating just how much of an advantage Mississippi State had with Hill and the defense, which have typically been Kansas State’s bread and butter.

The last time Kansas State gave up over 300 yards of rushing offense in a regular season game was on Nov. 8, 2014 when TCU rushed for 334 yards. UCLA is the last team to go for at least 300 rushing yards, doing so later in that season in the bowl game with 331 rushing yards. The 372 rushing yards by Mississippi State was the most allowed by Kansas State since 2010 when Nebraska rushed for 451 yards.

Mississippi State returns home next week to host Louisiana-Lafayette in one last non-conference game before jumping into the SEC schedule in Week 4. Kansas State will play a third straight home game next week with a game against UTSA. The Wildcats open Big 12 play the following week at West Virginia.