STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) Dak Prescott threw three touchdown passes, and ran for another score to lead Mississippi State to a 45-20 victory over Louisiana Tech on Saturday.
Prescott had scoring throws of 5, 20, and 12 yards, and finished 30 of 43 for 347 yards passing without an interception.
Mississippi State (5-2) rallied from an early 14-0 deficit in the first quarter and finished the first half with 24 points. Louisiana Tech (4-3) was led by Jeff Driskel as the former Florida transfer passed for 303 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
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”We came out and started slow,” Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said. ”But our preparation was good and we were on top of things.”
De’Runnya Wilson led the host Bulldogs with seven catches for 85 yards and two touchdowns. His second-quarter touchdown tied the game at 17, and started a run of 21 points by Mississippi State.
Mississippi State and Louisiana Tech both had first-half success in the passing game and combined for 505 yards of total offense in the first half. Louisiana Tech jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead thanks to a pair of Jeff Driskel touchdown passes in the opening quarter.
The Bulldogs of the SEC, however, responded with a dominating second quarter and turned the momentum late in the half when Donald Gray blocked a Louisiana Tech punt. On the next play, Prescott scored from two yards out to give Mississippi State a 24-17 lead, and capped a 24-3 run to end the first half.
Mississippi State held Louisiana Tech to just a field goal in the second half.
”That was a great effort on our part,” Mullen said. ”This is the end of non-conference play, so we need to be ready for the grind that we’re about to go through over the next couple of weeks.”
Mississippi State continued that momentum in the second half and pushed its lead to 38-20 following Prescott’s third touchdown pass, a 12-yard scoring toss to Fred Brown. Mississippi State capped the scoring when Brandon Bryant recorded his first collegiate interception and returned it 74 yards for touchdown.
Louisiana Tech’s Trent Taylor had ten catches for 130 yards with a touchdown. His scoring catch in the first quarter gave the visiting Bulldogs a 14-0 lead.
”There were some great individual efforts but as a whole we were not good enough,” Louisiana Tech coach Skip Holtz said. ”I think Prescott is a heck of a quarterback, and he did a great job today. But we have to get some things straight with our pass defense.”
Prescott is just the third SEC quarterback to total 50 career passing touchdowns and 30 career rushing touchdowns, joining former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow and former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. Prescott has thrown 274 passes without an interception, the longest active streak in the nation, and the third-longest streak in SEC history.