The veteran Bulldogs offense answer to those thoughts brought cheers from the Bulldog faithful.
After a non-productive series by both teams, Mississippi State began a third quarter drive at their own 25 yard line. Junior running back Dontae Walker ran the ball four straight times earning a total of 24 yards. On 2nd and 8, MSU quarterback Wayne Madkin completed a pass to senior running back Dicenzo Miller for a 51 yard touchdown to make the score 10-7, Memphis.
"An immature team would have crumbled," said veteran Madkin. "We are a mature team who has been doing it for three years."
Up until this play the momentum had all been on the Tigers side of the field. The MSU fans now felt it slightly tilt their way.
Dicenzo Miller could also sense it shifting after the touchdown play. "I think (the momentum) carried over to the defense, special teams and our fans. It really got the fans into the game."
MSU kicker John Michael Marlin proved Miller right by once again kicking his kickoff into the end zone. The Memphis Tigers, starting at their own 25 yard line ahead 10-7, did nothing against the tough MSU defense and had to punt. MSU sophomore Curtis Stowers, Jr., speeding by his man, blocked the punt. Nathan Jackson scooped it up and ran it in for a 6 yard touchdown. MSU now led 14-10 and clearly had the momentum on their side.
"All night long the snapper was washing me," said Stowers. "After a while I learned his tendencies, which way he was going to move, what way he was going to go. This was my third time to go up against him and I knew exactly what he was going to do. I was going to make a move on him and go all out for the block. As soon as he had his head down and moved the ball, I just shot the gap. He tried to grab me but I was able to get past him. I knew then that I was going to block it. After I blocked it, I couldn't find it. Nate Jackson came out of there and got it. It was amazing that he came because he was actually in a holdup mode where you run with your man all the way down the field. For him to recognize that I had blocked it was amazing. He was very smart for going in and scooping it up."
The record-setting MSU crowd was now rocking and into the game.
"I thought that our people really go involved," said Coach Sherrill. Even newcomer cornerback Korey Banks noticed the effect of the crowd. "The 12th man always helps you."
The defense, feeding off the crowd, held Memphis on their next drive to three yards on three plays. The continuous substitution of defensive linemen was, seemingly, paying dividends.
"We played a lot of players, defensively," said Coach Sherrill. "It certainly kept them fresh."
Memphis punted to MSU's 35 yard line where Korey Banks caught the punt and returned it to the 47 yard line for a 12 yard gain. That ended the quarter with MSU leading Memphis 14-10.
MSU then started a 10-play, 53-yard drive that culminated in a touchdown to put them ahead 21-10. MSU's Dontae Walker rushed for 35 of those 53 yards.
The MSU defense, now seemingly in sync, once again shut down the Memphis offense, holding them to minus 11 yards. Punting the ball to the MSU 46, the refs tacked on a 15 yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct against Memphis. Because of the penalty, MSU began the drive on the Memphis 39 yard line. After a 17 yard run by Dicenzo Miller, wide receiver Justin Jenkins, who had dropped a possible touchdown pass earlier in the game, caught a 22 yard touchdown pass from Wayne Madkin to put the Bulldogs up 27 to 10. The extra point was missed, keeping the score at 27-10.
On the next Memphis drive, the MSU defense stopped the Tigers and caused them to punt. A bad snap by the center kept the Memphis punter, James Gaither, from getting the punt off. Senior MSU player Julius Griffith forced a fumble by Gaither which was recovered by Nathan Jackson, his second fumble recovery of the ballgame.
Not able to do much on the drive, MSU kicked a 24 yard field goal to make the final score 30-10.
The Bulldogs will now take a weekend off from competition and prepare for the undefeated BYU Cougars (2-0).
|Yards Gained Rushing||120||203|
|Yards Lost Rushing||34||24|
|NET YARDS RUSHING||86||179|
|NET YARDS PASSING||76||174|
|TOTAL OFFENSIVE PLAYS||63||63|
|TOTAL NET YARDS||162||353|
|Average Gain Per Play||2.6||5.6|
|Number of Punts-Yards||7-224||4-181|
|Average Per Punt||32.0||45.3|
|Punt Returns: Number-Yards||2-19||3-48|
|Kickoff Returns: Number-Yards||3-67||2-48|
|Fumble Returns: Number-Yards||1-73||0-0|
|Third-Down Conversions||2 of 15||4 of 13|
|Fourth-Down Conversions||0 of 3||0 of 0|
|Sacks By: Number-Yards||2-15||4-17|
LEADERS FOR MSU:
Rushing: Dicenzo Miller - 12 rushes for 108 yards and 1 TD.
Passing: Wayne Madkin - 12-of-21 for 174 yards and 2 TDs.
Receiving: Justin Jenkins - 4 receptions for 61 yards and 1 TD.
Punting: Jared Cook - 3 for 136 yards, a 45.3 average.
Tackles: Conner Stephens - 9, Shawn Byrdsong, T.J. Mawhinny, and Dorsett Davis - 8
Sacks: Tommy Kelly - 2 for 8 yards. Tommy also had the most tackles for losses with 2.
OTHER GAME NOTES: