La. Tech Associate Athletic Director/Communications
STARKVILLE, Miss. — Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald amassed 350 yards of total offense and four scores leading the No. 18 ranked Bulldogs to a 45-3 win over Louisiana Tech Saturday night at Wade Davis Stadium.
Fitzgerald threw for 243 yards and four touchdowns, three coming in a first quarter that saw Mississippi State race out to a 21-3 lead, and rushed for 107 yards in only three quarters as the SEC Bulldogs (6-3) handed the C-USA Bulldogs (6-3) a loss for the second straight year.
Tech senior defensive end Jaylon Ferguson recorded two more sacks in the game, giving him 40 for is career, only four shy of Terrell Suggs’ NCAA record of 44 set during his career at Arizona State. Ferguson now leads the nation with 12.5 sacks this season, and is chasing his own single season record of 14.5 set in 2016.
Tech’s defense was its own worst enemy in the first half as three separate penalties called against the Bulldogs extended three separate Mississippi State drives after it appeared LA Tech would force the SEC Bulldogs to punt. All three drives ended in TDs for Mississippi State, which built a 31-3 halftime advantage.
Mississippi State scored on first half drives covering 70, 59, 75 and 85 yards while amassing 327 yards of total offense in the opening two quarters of action. Fitzgerald connected on TD passes of 11, 36, 23 and 10 yards to four different receivers.
Offensively, Louisiana Tech was held in check all night long. J’Mar Smith completed 14-of-30 passes for 98 yards as the Bulldogs offense drove inside the Mississippi State 40 yard line only twice all night. Bailey Hale hit a 46-yard field goal with 3:15 to play in the first quarter, cutting the Miss State advantage to 14-3.
Kam McKnight led the Tech ground game, rushing for 59 yards on 13 carries. Justin Henderson added 32 yards on 8 carries while Jaqwis Dancy added 24 yards on three totes.
Tech managed to drive the ball inside the Mississippi State 10 yard line midway through the fourth quarter, but failed to capitalize, turning the ball over on downs.
Miss State recorded 537 yards of total offense, including 294 on the ground and 243 through the air while LA Tech managed 238 yards of offense, 140 of that coming on the ground and 98 through the air.
Tech returns to action this Saturday when it hosts Rice at 6 p.m. at Joe Aillet Stadium.
— Featured photo of Louisiana Tech running back Kam McKnight by Tom Morris, LaTechSportsPix.com