Tuesday Morning Football Notebook

Mississippi State figured some sort of record had been set in the rout of Troy when two Bulldogs both rushed, received, and caught touchdowns. Now it is known more than a program mark was made at Scott Field Saturday. That was Southeastern Conference history being set by Dak Prescott and Jameon Lewis.

The SEC Office informed Mississippi State today that for the first confirmed time two players from the same conference team, in the same game, each scored touchdowns in the three methods. Quarterback Prescott scored the first Bulldog offensive touchdown of the 62-7 blowout when he caught a throw-back pass from wide receiver Lewis and ran the remaining 36-yards. The play began nicely enough as Prescott had thrown the lateral to Lewis…though per NCAA statistics guidelines only one ‘pass' was counted on the two connections. So Prescott got no completion on the gadget play.

That technical detail won't faze the quarterback a bit. He followed his touchdown catch with two rushes for touchdowns; then threw a pass to Lewis that became a 50-yard scoring play and give the sophomore the ‘touchdown trifecta'.

Obviously Lewis was two-thirds of the way there himself after throwing for the first-quarter score and catching Prescott's bomb before halftime. Coach Dan Mullen put the first offense back on the field for the first series of second half and it ended with Lewis running it in from eight yards out, giving the receiver his own three-fer scoring day.

Thus this pair of underclassmen combined, literally in two of the cases, to make both Mississippi State and SEC history. However they were not the first Bulldogs to pull off this remarkable three-way. James Jones did it back in 1978, also on Scott Field, in a victory over ranked Florida State. In fact Jones' day was even more impressive overall. The halfback scored the game's first two touchdowns on throws from Dave Marler; then in the second half rushed for two more scores. And for good measure, Jones threw a touchdown of 34 yards to Mardye McDole. He'd also caught a two-point throw, meaning Jones had a hand (or feet) in 32 points in a single afternoon. He also totaled 156 rushing/receiving/throwing yards.

That output pales beside Prescott's 322 though as quarterback he had the obvious passing advantage. At Auburn a week ago, Prescott had a 100-plus yards evening both rushing and throwing, something last done by Chris Relf in 2011.

TRIPLE THE THREAT: He was a do-it-all in high school. So it should make sense Lewis is now leading Mississippi State in all-purpose yardage one month into his junior season. Lewis has accumulated 436 yards of receiving, rushing, and returning through four games, an average of 109. And as the alert fan will note this statistic does not count passing, something the starting slot-receiver did for his first collegiate time on that 36-yard connection with Prescott. It is a measure of the league Lewis plays in though that a 109-yards game output is only 13th in the SEC standings this week.

Yet Lewis is being noticed around the nation. His Saturday stats put him on this week's Hornung Honor Roll. The Hornung Award is given to the ‘most versatile' player in college football annually.

Lewis leads State so far in catches with an even dozen. And his 248 yards through four games is right at the 251 yards totaled in his previous varsity seasons! He came into the junior season with three touchdowns and already has four in as many 2013 games.

HONOR ROLLING: He didn't record a single official statistic on a big Bulldog offensive day, much less make history. Yet it was guard Gabe Jackson who was recognized by the SEC, as their Offensive Lineman of the Week. Jackson duplicated the honor earned a year ago by his former linemate and guard Tobias Smith who won LOTW in October 2012.

Asked if that was his cleanest effort as a Bulldog so far, "I'm not sure, I try to have short-term memory!" Jackson said. "But you're not going to have perfect games, I'm pretty sure I missed someone down the line."

Jackson was credited by the MSU coaching staff with five ‘pancake' blocks in his two-plus quarters of play against Troy. A first-team All-SEC selection last season, senior Jackson is in line for all-American honors this year and projected as a first-round NFL draftee, even by some analysts as the first guard to be taken.

BELL RINGER: He might be working on some placekicking issues at the moment. But Devon Bell has been crushing his kickoffs this sophomore season. Bell has put 14 of his 23 kickoffs into the end zone, with 13 of them for touchbacks. And the one returned, by Auburn, was stopped at the 11-yard line.

In fact, Bell already has as many touchbacks in one month this season as he had in 13 games last year.

TIGHT RACE: They went into week-four tied for the team tackles lead. Now for the first time this season MLB Benardrick McKinney has taken the lead, and by one stop over comrade OLB Deontae Skinner with a 24 to 23 score.

The lone down-side to Mississippi State's pair of blowout homefield wins over Alcorn State and Troy though is that the starting defenders weren't able to play full games, or even three quarters in either romp. So that cut down on chances to pile-up a whole lot of easy tackles.

As for ‘mayhem' stats so beloved by their Coach Geoff Collins, senior Skinner has an edge with both an interception (Alcorn State) and sack (Auburn). McKinney has a recovered fumble (Troy).

PRIME PRODUCTION: After a frustrating opening day, the Dog offense is getting up to speed. State has scored on 17 of 20 trips into the red zone, with 13 touchdowns.

SLOWER WEEK: With an open date, the Bulldogs had only—only—a weight training session Monday, since Coach Matt Balis was one of the few staff members even on campus. Everyone is supposed to be back this afternoon for a practice, one of three during the week before the team is turned-loose for the weekend.

That's something the players might get used to. With another open date October 19, and the Thursday October 24th night game with Kentucky, there are two more free Saturdays in store.

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