(AP) Nick Fitzgerald, filling in for an under-the-weather Dak Prescott, had three touchdowns and 170 yards of total offense to lead Mississippi State to a 45-17 victory over Troy on Saturday.
MSU (4-2) had 336 yards of total offense, 211 of that through the air.
Troy (1-4) dominated the time of possession (40:25) in the game, but managed only two trips to the red zone against MSU’s physical, bend-but-don’t-break defensive scheme.
Fitzgerald, a redshirt freshman who had thrown a combined four passes in two previous games this season, was 6 of 7 for 141 yards passing and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 29 yards and another touchdown.
De’Runnya Wilson, Fred Ross and Donald Gray each caught touchdown passes.
MSU dominated from the start, scoring touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams in the first quarter.
On the second play from scrimmage, Prescott found Ross for a 65-yard touchdown catch. On the ensuing Troy possession, quarterback Brandon Silvers fumbled into the end zone and Nelson Adams recovered it for a touchdown. Later in the quarter is was Ross again, running back a 77-yard punt for a score.
Westin Graves kicked a 42-yard field goal in the second quarter, Fitzgerald found Wilson for a 28-yard score and Fitzgerald scored on a 1-yard run.
The Bulldogs led 38-0 at halftime.
Troy ate up most of the third quarter with a 9-minute, 77-yard drive that culminated in a 5-yard touchdown run by Dontreal Pruitt. The Trojans scored again toward the end of the quarter with a 74-yard run by Brandon Burks.
After Troy botched a 51-yard field goal attempt early in the fourth quarter, Fitzgerald connected with Donald Gray for a 49-yard touchdown to re-extend the MSU lead. Troy couldn’t score again until the final minute of the game when Jed Solomon kicked a 21-yard field goal.
Prescott, battling a stomach ailment, left the game in the first quarter. Prescott finished the game 3 of 6 for 74 yards and a touchdown.