STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State senior Preston Smith was named Southeastern Conference Defensive Lineman of the Week for the first time in his career, league officials announced Monday. Smith is the first Bulldog defensive lineman to earn the honor since NFL first-round draft pick Fletcher Cox accomplished the feat four times in 2011.
Smith picked up the award after filling out the box score in State’s 49-0 shutout victory against Southern Miss this past Saturday at Davis Wade Stadium. The Stone Mountain, Ga., native registered two tackles, one interception, one blocked field goal, one pass breakup and a quarterback hurry, leading the Maroon and White to its first shutout since September 1999.
The 6-foot-6, 270-pound lineman picked off his first career pass early in the first quarter, before blocking his first career field goal in the third. The blocked 30-yard attempt was picked up by fellow senior Jay Hughes and returned 68 yards for a touchdown.
Thanks to Smith’s efforts, MSU was the only SEC squad and one of just seven FBS teams to register a shutout in college football’s opening week. The Bulldogs’ “Psycho Defense” forced three turnovers and limited the Golden Eagles to 283 yards of total offense, the second fewest allowed by a league school in week one.
Smith returns to action this Saturday as the 1-0 Bulldogs host UAB inside Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field in Starkville, Miss. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. and will be televised live on Fox Sports. For more information on the Maroon and White, follow the program on Twitter at @HailStateFBall, like team on Facebook at Facebook.com/HailStateFootball and join the squad on Instagram at Instagram.com/HailStateFB.
MSU’s SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week
2005 – Willie Evans (Sept. 17)
2008 – Jessie Bowman (Sept. 15)
2009 – Pernell McPhee (Sept. 21, Nov. 28)
2011 – Fletcher Cox (Oct. 10, Oct. 17, Oct. 31, Nov. 28)
2014 – Preston Smith (Sept. 1)