STARKVILLE, Miss. - In front of the largest crowd in Davis Wade Stadium history, Mississippi State (1-0) blanked Southern Mississippi (0-1) 49-0 to open the 2014 season Saturday night.
The Bulldogs drove the field and scored on their opening drive, the first of seven touchdowns on the night. The defense followed the offense’s lead and created a turnover on USM’s first possession as senior defensive tackle Kaleb Eulls tipped a pass at the line and senior defensive end Preston Smith intercepted it.
By the end of the game, State’s offense had racked up 550 yards, holding USM to 283 of its own.
Junior quarterback Dak Prescott, in his first his season as the unquestioned starter, opened the campaign with a record-setting performance. His 284 passing yards were a career high, while his four touchdown passes tied his previous best, despite coming out of the game after the first drive of the second half.
Senior safety Jay Hughes, a Hattiesburg native whose father played at USM, was the story of the defense for MSU.
His deep second-quarter interception of an errant Golden Eagle pass effectively ended the first half and stymied the USM threat to break the shutout. Then, in the third quarter, he returned a blocked Southern field goal for a touchdown, once again saving the shutout. It was the first game action for Hughes since he went down with an Achilles injury in the first quarter of the 2013 season-opener.
Elsewhere on the field, junior running back Josh Robinson accrued 87 rushing yards and 49 through the air, while sophomore wide receiver De’Runnya Wilson hauled in four passes for 65 yards and two touchdowns.
MSU returns to action next weekend hosting UAB at 1 p.m. on Scott Field.