In Saturday’s battle of Magnolia State supremacy, the Southern Miss football team made its first return trip to Starkville in five years, only to find out Mississippi State is still really good.
Golden Eagles coming off a home win over Alcorn State, Bulldogs fresh off their triumph over Louisiana at the Superdome.
Mississippi State wins 38-15.
Mississippi State quarterback Tommy Stevens had nine consecutive completions to start the game, the longest such streak for a Bulldog quarterback since Dak Prescott had 12 back in 2015.
Southern Miss just couldn’t find its footing in the early going before USM knew it, it was 28-0 in the third quarter in favor of the Bulldogs.
But the Golden Eagles never quit and if anything they only got stronger as the game went on. Southern Miss running back Kevin Perkins said, “They never gave up on me, that’s basically what I know. I know 11 brothers are hard to beat, and that’s what they showed today. They played for the guy to the left and right of us.”
USM quarterback Jack Abraham said, “We were very close to breaking open that game. And I thought we started hitting a groove in that second half, but we’ve got to do a better job of coming out in that first half and putting up some points.”
USM defensive back D.Q. Thomas said, “Missed an opportunity. A lot of things on the defensive and offensive side, we missed opportunities. And things could have been executed differently. But coming into next week, Coach Hop already emphasized that we’re going to correct the finite mistakes we made, so looking forward to next week already.”
USM Head Coach Jay Hopson said, “I’m pleased, I really am with the fight. Certainly, I’m not happy with the score. I don’t think any coach or competitor ever would be. But the bottom line is, our guys, they’re fighting hard, they’re playing hard and it would have been really easy down – at that time, 31-7 – to hang it up.”
MSU Head Coach Joe Moorhead said, “We want to be a team that’s balanced and can run and pass with equal effectiveness and I think hopefully the last two games you’ve seen kind of a snapshot of what we want to be. If a team is taking the run away, we’re able to throw it. If they’re taking the throw away, we’re able to run it. And we had it rolling pretty good there.”
Hopson said, “That’s something I told them at the end of the game, I’m so proud of them. Because I’ve never known this team to quit, stop or give up. They just keep plugging and keep fighting and that’s something as a football coach, you’ve got to be proud of that. I mean that’s – you want to win every game. But unfortunately, in this game you don’t. But you can stand pretty tall as long as you know hey, you’re surrounded by a bunch of fighters and I think that’s what we have.”
In a rivalry that’s all of 84 years old, Mississippi State has won the last six games against Southern Miss and now leads the all-time series 15-14-1.
Next up for the Bulldogs is a home game against Kansas State. The Golden Eagles hit the road to take on Troy next Saturday.