Prescott Performs In First Start For State

The best thing that could have happened to Dak Prescott early on was…an incompletion? OK, that might be putting it strongly. Yet the man himself turned missing on his very first pass as a college starter into a positive point. "It was good to get that out of the way early. And I think that helped me out throughout the game."

Throughout his half of the game, that is. One half's worth of Prescott was more than enough to lead Mississippi State to a lopsided win over Alcorn State, as the Bulldogs scored 37 of their 51 points under Prescott's direction.

After the initial incompletion, an overthrow of WR Jameon Lewis on State's very first offensive play, there wasn't a lot Prescott missed on. He completed 12 of the next 18 passes for 174 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Maybe more impressive was how the third-year sophomore spread the fun around, using eight different receivers in just the two quarters.

"I thought Dak came out and played well, did a good job the first half," Coach Dan Mullen said. "He made some good reads, managed the offense well, made plays we needed him to make." That included a little fast footwork too, as Prescott ran 11 nigh-untouched yards for the team's first touchdown of both the game and the 2013 season.

All this after missing Lewis in the first attempted toss. As well as in his initial college start, since Prescott was taking over for a concussion-sidelined Tyler Russell. The senior did not dress for the game but did do his team captain part on the coin toss. Then Russell watched his understudy and then true freshman Damian Williams put on a home-field show.

An expert in the skill, Russell has been praising Prescott's passing potential since spring camp. Saturday the soph showed some of that stuff, not just throwing the ball but operating the entire offense. Take his rushing touchdown, when most of the ASU defense chased RB Josh Robinson on a sweep. Prescott never let go of the ball and darted up the middle.

"It was a called play, just a read. It just worked out that way." Easy for him to make it sound so simple. Yet Prescott didn't even make too much of how he handled the game's first serious test. On that same opening series he converted a 4th-and-9 by throwing to Joe Morrow for what would have been a first down…and the official not waved it off.

"They (Alcorn State) were trying to get us, they said they called a timeout. So we called a different play and it worked out just as well." Because TE Malcolm Johnson made a smart late move on the left sideline for a tough catch to convert anyway. Sure, it was really early and State was expected to roll, but…

"It was big to the game," Prescott said. "It's the first possession and you want to get in there and get some points on the board." Of course the Dogs went on to put a lot more points on that board, most with Prescott in command. But not all as true frosh Williams got to direct all of one touchdown drive in the third quarter and all but the last hike of another in the fourth. Sam Cowart made the handoff to RB Nick Griffin for the last touchdown.

Williams finished 8-of-13 with an interception and 105 yards.

"We had a lead and we wanted to go with Damian," Mullen explained. "With having only three quarterbacks on scholarship right now for us. We had to make sure one, we keep Dak healthy; two, make sure Damian is ready if his numbers is called."

Prescott said he was told at halftime his day was done. And what a day it was, never mind that it was against a SWAC victim. The Bulldog offense needed to score some confidence after being held to a field goal last week by Oklahoma State.

"It was very important. We got in a rhythm, we got comfortable and everybody did a good job, they did their 1/11th out there. It was good to get in that rhythm and get going and score some points."

Especially as the Bulldogs are back on the road, and this time against conference peer Auburn. "It's a SEC game now. Preseason in a way is over so it's time to get in there and try to get a SEC road win," said Prescott. But which quarterback will be taking the first snap next Saturday? Mullen is optimistic Russell will be cleared after missing a whole week of practice, meaning there is a serious decision to make. Soon.

Prescott is at-ease either way. "That's up to the coaches. That's their call, I'm just going to go in and prepare like I'm a starter and prepare the best I can."

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