Gene Swindoll, Gene's Page

Prescott Reflects on Win over Southern Miss

Following his team's 34-16 win over Southern Miss, Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott was all smiles. While Prescott saw most of the first half from the sidelines, the talented senior led the Bulldogs to scores in all of their third quarter possessions to put the scrappy Golden Eagles safely in the rearview mirror.

"We got all of the kinks out," Prescott said. "We played good at some times and bad at some times, but it was game one. We were finally playing against someone (rather) than ourselves. It was a game with consequences. We couldn't just copy a play if we messed up.

"We know what we need to fix going into week two and that's a good Southern Miss team. That's a team that got a lot of transfers and they've gotten a lot better since last year."

In addition to having some new talent, the Golden Eagles also had some new looks for a team that blasted them a year ago 49-0. To counter, the Bulldogs went to some of their own bread and butter and pulled away in the second half.

"We just had to go back to our base offense, basically," Prescott said. "We prepared all week for a 'One high' man-to-man team and they came out and predominantly ran quarters. That definitely wasn't what we schemed against, but we handled it alright. We did enough to get the win."

The Bulldogs offensive chores were made more difficult by two early miscues and an onsides kick that the Golden Eagles recovered. Prescott saw just seven snaps in quarter one. The time on the sidelines rather than the playing field prevented the visitors from establishing much offensively in the early going.

"They held the ball that first half a good bit," Prescott said. "It was hard to get into a rhythm. We didn't have that many plays. I think we just had 22 at halftime. That's not a lot to get going. When you have those simple errors like we did, it hurts as well. When we get going and we get some plays, we're a high tempo team. Once we get going fast, we'll be fine."

One early miscue came after Fred Ross mishandled a punt that the Eagles recovered deep in Bulldog territory. Prescott spoke with his normally sure handed receiver on the sidelines as the team began to regroup.

"Fred knows better than that," Prescott said. "He was like 'I got you. I know what I did' before I said anything. I was just trying to keep him positive and keep him up. He is a guy that has to make big plays for us."

#15 was quick to add that he saw some room for improvement in his own play on Saturday night. While Prescott led the team to 38 points, he missed on a few throws he feels he should have completed.

 "I was just getting the kinks out," Prescott said. "I know I have improved as a passer. I don't know my completion percentage very well, but we had a couple of drops and I missed some easy throws that I can't miss. The bubbles, the quick outs and just throws to guys open that I can't miss. I'll get that fixed up."

Coach Dan Mullen said in his post-game comments that Prescott may have been pressing a bit as the Bulldogs needed to sustain some momentum. Prescott reports that he did not feel any anxiety other than the typical first game jitters.

"I don't know if I was pressing," Prescott said. "It was pretty humid sometimes and my hands were pretty wet and my towel was wet. Not to make excuses, but I don't feel like I was pressing. I might have been trying to be too perfect on a throw instead of just throwing it. When I try to aim a throw or think about being perfect on a throw, it doesn't always go the way I want it to."

Prescott tossed a pair of touchdown passes on the night both to tight ends. The production from that personnel group was important as the Bulldogs look to replace Malcolm Johnson who is now suiting up or the Cleveland Browns.

"That was just something that they gave us," Prescott said. "They are always in the game plan. The tight ends are a good match up, because you can get matched up with the backers because of their speed or the safeties, because of their size. Anytime they give us that match up we're going to take full advantage of it. Our tight ends did well today."

The running back position showed some promise as the Bulldogs mixed and matched with both Ashton Shumpert and Brandon Holloway getting carries. Holloway was one of the heroes on the evening thanks in large part to a 100+ yard kickoff return for the Bulldogs' first score of the night.

"That's something we have seen in camp and it's something we need to exploit," Prescott said. "We have speed and size and we're going to use that back to back. We have two younger guys (Dontavian Lee and Aeris Williams) that I think will get more reps going forward that also bring something to that run game."

One of the things the Bulldogs hope to "fix" this week is ball security. A pair of early turnovers against Southern Miss prevented a Bulldog touchdown and led to a Southern Miss field goal. The ten point swing caused for some early anxiety for Bulldog players, coaches and fans alike.

"It was the first game of the season and we are a team that has a lot of new guys who are becoming starters for the first time," Prescott shared. "We had some little mistakes and we had some big mistakes as well. Things will get cleaned up. Things that were self-inflicted are on us and as long as we get it fixed up, then we're good to go."

The Bulldogs will welcome the LSU Tigers to Starkville this weekend in the SEC opener for both teams. The Tigers tune up game against McNeese State was canceled due to inclement weather in Baton Rouge this past Saturday night.

If the Tigers have any kinks to work out, then they will need to do that on the practice field this week. Prescott, a Louisiana native, is eager to host the Bayou Bengals.

"It's the first home game, the first SEC game and it's LSU," Prescott said with a grin. "I am excited and the team is very excited. We're glad we had this game, so we could come in and clean up everything we need to and play against somebody else and get ready going into week two.

The talented signal caller was quick to dismiss any talk about any potential advantages the Bulldogs may gain from the Tigers having their home opener washed out.

"I don't think it really matters," Prescott said. "They are a good coached team. I am sure they will be well prepared for us. They'll be ready to play and we're not going to take them lightly. It's an SEC game, so we're not going to think that they're not going to be fresh or that they're not going to be ready."

With fans enjoying their Labor Day, the Bulldogs are hard at work preparing for the 2015 home opener in Davis Wade stadium this Saturday night.

"High tempo practice. It's going to be no different than any other practice," Prescott said of his team's work week. "We're going to get going and we're going to go fast. We're going to get prepared for LSU and everything they throw at us."

For Prescott, this Saturday night's showdown will be the final home opener of his college career. Facing his home state Tigers only adds to Prescott's desire to get home in front of the Mississippi State fan base.

"I am excited. There is nothing like playing in Davis Wade," Prescott said. "It's the first home game, the first SEC game all in one against a good LSU team that we beat last year. We know they are going to come back ready for some revenge. We expect a good, prepared team and I am just ready to run out and hear those cowbells and get a good win in front of the home crowd."

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