STARKVILLE – (AP) Jackson State coach Rick Comegy chose to look at Saturday night’s 56-9 loss to Mississippi State as a learning experience for his team.
Mississippi State cruised to a big win in front a seventeenth-consecutive sellout home crowd in each team’s opener.
But despite the score, the Tigers never shut down mentally, especially on offense.
“I think we learned how to lose with dignity,” Comegy said. “I think when we watch the film, we will be a better football team. They played very well, and they executed the ball well. We didn’t execute the ball as well as they did tonight, but we saw what can happen when you do the things you should do right.”
Jackson State was still executing its offense in the fourth quarter, driving deep into Bulldog territory before settling for a 25-yard Ryan Deisling field goal.
Mississippi State finished the game with 377 yards total offense and did not punt the football until the final minute of the third quarter. Mullen’s offense was at its balanced best with 183 yards passing and 194 yards rushing.
“I think when we watch the film, we will know exactly what needs to be done to get a blueprint to take us to the SWAC championship,” Comegy said.
Jackson State managed 265 yards of offense and 16 first downs, but turned the ball over three times and struggled to sustain drives against a deep Mississippi State defense.
On the game’s opening drive, Mississippi State moved quickly down the field and Russell hit Chad Bumphis for a 9-yard touchdown pass.
“I saw that the corner was trying to bait, and I was trying to bait him,” Russell said. “I have complete confidence in Chad that he will get open in those situations.”
After a missed field goal attempt, Mississippi State’s LaDarius Perkins scored touchdowns on each of the Bulldogs’ next two possessions. Perkins finished the game with 50 yards on eight carries.
“LaDarius got the workout we wanted him to get and everybody got an opportunity to touch the ball,” Mullen said.
Tight end Marcus Green scored on a 13-yard pass from Russell late in the second quarter.
“Tyler played well but I expect him to be even sharper,” Mullen said. “I thought he was trying to do a little too much out there. He just needs to run the offense, and we will be ok.”
Mississippi State scored on four of its six possessions in the first half and led 35-6 at halftime, its largest first-half output since a 35-6 first half against Alcorn State in 2010.
The Bulldogs returned two Dedric McDonald interceptions for touchdowns. Darius Slay returned one for 52 yards in the first half, and sophomore Matthew Wells ran in from 22 yards out in the third quarter.
“I was in a great spot,” Wells said. “The defensive line put some great pressure on the quarterback. I knew when I caught the ball I was going for a touchdown.”
Mississippi State had returned two balls for scores only three other times in school history (2009 vs. Florida, 2002 vs. Memphis, and 1994 vs. Arkansas).
Mississippi State’s Derrick Milton led all rushers with 65 yards on eight carries and one touchdown.
Receivers Arceto Clark and Jameon Lewis had three catches each to lead the Bulldogs.
Jackson State’s Rico Richardson caught a game-high seven passes, and E.J. Drewery caught a 9-yard pass in the second quarter for Jackson State’s lone touchdown of the game.
“It wasn’t the best,” Richardson said. “We still have a lot of things that we need to shape up on.”