It was a great day for former Haughton quarterback Dak Prescott and the Mississippi State Bulldogs and a tough night for former Parkway quarterback Brandon Harris and the LSU Tigers.
Prescott put himself squarely in the Heisman Trophy picture, leading No. 12 Mississippi State to a 48-31 victory over the No. 6 Texas A&M Aggies Saturday in Starkville, Miss.
Harris, a true freshman making his first start on the road against the No. 5 team in the nation, completed just three of 13 passes for 58 yards in a loss to Auburn (5-0, 2-0 SEC) Saturday night in Auburn, Ala.
Harris, who suffered a sprained ankle on the second-to-last play of the first half, wasn’t the only Tiger that struggled. The LSU defense gave up 257 yards and 24 points in the first quarter alone.
Prescott, a redshirt junior, completed 19 of 25 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 77 yards on 23 carries and scored three TDs. Mississippi State (5-0, 2-0 SEC) led 28-10 at the half and stretched it to 48-17 in the fourth quarter.
“He’s gonna get a lot more attention now with his performance,” Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen told reporters after the game. “But that’s what I’ve told everybody. We expect that from him. We expect that type of performance.”
Prescott downplayed his performance.
“I felt like we had it going in,” he said. “We just had to execute our game plan.
Harris set up LSU’s only first-half touchdown with a 52-yard pass to Malichi Dupre. Dupre was tackled at the 1 and Kenny Hilliard scored on the next play.
Harris also rushed eight times for 36 yards and he did not throw an interception. Harris was replaced by sophomore Anthony Jennings with 5:28 left in the third quarter.
“I take full responsibility! We will bounce back! I love this team!” Harris posted on Twitter late Saturday.
“The night was awful from start to finish,” Harris said in his postgame press conference. “Our coaching staff does a great job preparing us for each game and each opponent. I thought I came out and played terrible. I can’t even put a grade on it. It was an awful game.”
Harris was asked what challenges he faced and what he needs to do to get better.
“There weren’t challenges,” he said. “Ultimately, you have to stay smooth and make throws. I didn’t make throws I can normally make. Being the quarterback at tis university, the standard’s been set high. With Zach (Mettenberger) before me and the quarterbacks that came before him. The night was just terrible.”
Harris said the game didn’t seem faster than previous games.
“I’ve played in games like this before,” he said. “I think we just got too ahead of ourselves. I didn’t take it one play at a time and I take full responsibility for that.”
LSU (4-2, 0-2 SEC) returns to action next Saturday against Florida in Gainesville, Fla. Florida (3-1, 2-1) rallied from a 9-0 deficit to defeat Tennessee 10-9 Saturday in Knoxville, Tenn.
— Russell Hedges, email@example.com