Tyler Russell

Report: Miss. St.’s Dak Prescott dinged, will still play Sat.

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When Mississippi State takes the field for its second non-conference game of the young season, the Bulldogs will do so without a 100-percent healthy player under center.

Citing a person close to Dak Prescott, the Jackson Clarion-Ledger reported that the quarterback suffered some type of foot injury during practice this week.  It appears, though, that head coach Dan Mullen is confident Prescott will be available for at least partial duty for the game Saturday against UAB.

“When reached for comment Mullen said Prescott is healthy and he intends to play the quarterback against UAB,” the Clarion-Ledger wrote.

According to the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, Prescott missed most of spring practice in 2013 recovering from a toe injury. It’s unknown if this latest issue is in any way related to that first one.

Russell started seven games in 2013 as part of a two-man quarterback platoon with Tyler Russell. He led the team in rushing with 829 yards, and his 25 total touchdowns — 12 passing, 13 rushing — and 2,769 yards of total offense were second and third all-time, respectively, in school history.

Against Southern Miss in the opener last week, and in his first game as the unquestioned starter at the position, Prescott threw for 284 yards and four touchdowns. Both of those were career-highs, as was his 69.2 completion percentage.

If Prescott is sidelined, the reins of the MSU offense would be handed over to true sophomore Damian Williams. As a true freshman last season, Williams attempted 47 passes as the No. 3 quarterback behind Prescott and Russell.

Sneak Peek: 2013 AutoZone Liberty Bowl

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WHO: 6-6 Mississippi State (SEC) vs. 10-3 Rice (Conference USA)

WHAT: AutoZone Liberty Bowl (55th year)

WHERE: Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tennessee

WHEN: Dec. 31 at 4 p.m. ET

WHY: Mississippi State will be appearing in a bowl game for the fourth straight year, the first time in the program’s 112-year history that’s happened. Rice, on the other hand, has earned a postseason berth in back-to-back seasons for just the second time, with the first coming in 1961-62.

If the way the regular season holds to form, the effectiveness of both running games — or the opposing run defenses — will play a significant role in the the outcome.

The Conference USA champion Owls, who bring a four-game winning streak into the bowl game, are far and away the more reliant of the two on the ground game, averaging a robust 240.2 yards per game that’s good for 15th in the country. The key to Rice’s running game is senior tailback Charles Ross, who leads the team with 1,252 yards and has accounted for 14 of the Owls’ 30 rushing touchdowns. The Bulldogs are 45th in rushing with 185.8 yards per game and are led by starting quarterback Dak Prescott‘s 751 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Both of the run defenses are middle-of-the-pack nationally, with the 48th (151.1 ypg) and the Owls 54th (155.4 ypg).

To say that the two teams struggle in the passing game would be an understatement. The Owls are 92nd in passing yards per game (185.5) while the Bulldogs are 65th (240.3). Prescott, who replaced the injured Tyler Russell, is a dual-threat quarterback who relies heavily on the run portion of the threat as he’s prone to interceptions — he matched his seven touchdown passes with the same number of picks in 239 attempts. Rice’s starter, Taylor McHargue (no relation), has thrown eight picks in 309 attempts, although he has also thrown 17 touchdown passes in an offense that would much prefer to make its hay on the ground.

MSU’s average passing attack could be further exposed by a Rice defense that’s 13th in the country after allowing 195.7 yards per game through the air.

The two programs from distinctly different conferences do have one common opponent: Texas A&M.  The Owls also to the Aggies 52-31 in the season opener, while the Bulldogs fell to A&M 51-41 Nov. 9.  Both of those games were played in College Station.

PREDICTION: Rice 27, Mississippi State 24

Tyler Russell undergoes surgery; career at Miss. St. ends

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Entering the 2013 season as the starter once again, Tyler Russell‘s 2013 campaign was marred by assorted injuries that cost him a sizable chunk of the year.  Unfortunately, the most recent health issue will cost him what was left of his collegiate playing career as well.

The Associated Press is reporting that the Mississippi State quarterback underwent surgery Tuesday to repair a torn labrum in his right (throwing) shoulder.  As a result, Russell, a senior, will be unavailable for the Bulldogs’ Dec. 31 appearance in the Liberty Bowl against Rice.

This season, Russell missed three games early with a concussion, one with an ankle injury and the regular-season finale against Ole Miss with the shoulder issue.  Russell started 22 games the past three seasons, including all 13 in 2012 and five in 2013.

Russell finishes his Bulldogs career first in school history in touchdowns passes (42) and passing efficiency (137.3); second in completion percentage (.587); and passing yards (5,441), pass completions (410) and touchdowns responsible for (45).

Elbow injury leaves Dak Prescott questionable for Tide game

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After fighting through the grief of losing his mother to cancer in order to play in Mississippi State’s last game, Dak Prescott will now have to fight through injury to play in the next one.

Head coach Dan Mullen said Monday that the quarterback is officially “questionable” for this Saturday’s game against top-ranked Alabama.  Prescott suffered an elbow injury in the fourth quarter of this weekend’s loss to Texas A&M and did not return.

After not practicing Monday because of the injury, Mullen said Prescott’s availability for the Tide game could become clearer Wednesday.

Prescott has started six of 10 games this season while Tyler Russell has started the other four, including the Aggies loss.  The latter is listed as the starter on the depth chart heading into the Alabama game

“You want to have two quarterbacks that are ready to play,” Mullen said. “You saw that the other night. Dak gets banged up but Tyler had played a bunch and was in the flow of the game and on the second play bangs out a touchdown pass. … It’s a pretty good safety net to have.

Grieving Miss. St. QB Prescott to play vs. A&M

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Less than a week after losing someone dear to him, Dak Prescott will turn to the playing field in his time of grief.

The Mississippi State quarterback’s mom, Peggy Prescott, lost her long battle with colon cancer last Sunday morning.  Initially there was uncertainty as to whether Prescott would be available for the Texas A&M game today, but the sophomore returned to practice Wednesday.

On his radio show, head coach Dan Mullen confirmed that Prescott will play against the Aggies.  It was not specified as to whether he or Tyler Russell will get the start.

Prescott has started six of eight games this season, including the last two.