Yes, that was all that spoiled Prescott’s debut as Mississippi State starting SEC quarterback. With concussed senior Tyler Russell sidelined for a couple of weeks, Prescott did tune-up in a rout of Alcorn State. But it was at Auburn that saw his conference debut start.
While he played well with 133 rushing yards including two touchdowns, and 213 more passing yards, the Bulldogs fell short 24-20. Actually it was the new starter stopped short on a third down keeper. Had Prescott moved the chains State would have escaped with a 20-17 win.
That memory is motivating the senior-season Prescott with his return to town. Even then the first league start and good numbers weren’t enough to satisfy. No more than his weekly-growing collection of Mississippi State records.
“Wins. Wins are the most important record to me right now. Right now, getting a win each and every week, making sure I do what I have to do.”
A year ago Prescott did more than most in State’s history-making defeat of the Tigers on Scott Field. He piled-up 387 yards of offense himself with three touchdowns in the 38-23 victory which propelled the #3 Bulldogs to #1 in both polls, the first time for State ever to reach the top ranking. That was also when Coach Dan Mullen’s 2014 offense was peaking
A year later the start has been somewhat slower than expected. Literally in both the Southern Mississippi and LSU games, which in the second case cost the Dogs a narrow defeat. Everyone would love a do-over of that one because by halftime State had settled down and almost did enough to complete a comeback.
Now they are coming off a big-numbers day against lower-division Northwestern State, where in one half Prescott directed five touchdown drives. His backups took care of the second half with similar results, something Prescott believes indicates as much about the offense as the opponent.
Since the second quarter against LSU, “We’ve just picked up our tempo,” Prescott said. “Our offensive line protected, we got the ball out quick, the defense started jumping around allowing us to make plays downfield, and the receivers were getting open.
“We just picked up that tempo and getting that first down. I think we’re dangerous when we can do that.”
It is a dangerous SEC situation for both sides. Not only has LSU take the early Western Division lead but with the tie-breaks on both the Bulldogs and Auburn which is as good as two games. This week’s loser can realistically abandon Atlanta ambitions and think about earning the best bowl berth possible.
“I’m sure everybody in the SEC might end up with a loss,” Prescott predicts. “Now we have to kep moving forward, trying to win every single game. Losing two puts you at the bottom. We can even this record out in the SEC and we’ll be in the right position.”
So all emphasis is making a faster start this week. Not only would this encourage the Bulldogs on both sides, it would put more pressure on an Auburn squad whose confidence has been strained. An overtime win over Jacksonville State and loss at LSU appears to be causing some shake-ups of initial ideas about the Tiger team.
But, this could be trap. “I’m not really judging them off their last two games,” Prescott said. “I’m going to study them as the Auburn team they have been.”
As in, the squads that in both home battles with Bulldogs have made the last play count. In 2011 it was stopping Chris Relf inside the one-yard line to perverse a win. Two years later it was getting the ball back with just enough time to score a touchdown. Those recent results will surely improve Auburn’s mindset for this matchup.
Still, “I now know what to expect going to Auburn,” Prescott said. “I know exactly what it will be like. It’s great environment to play in. I’m using it as motivation to come out with different results than the first time.”