Bulldogs fend off Southern Miss

Published 12:56 am Sunday, September 6, 2015

By The Associated Press

HATTIESBURG — Dak Prescott threw two touchdown passes and Brandon Holloway returned a kickoff 100 yards for another score to lead Mississippi State past Southern Miss 34-16 Saturday night.

It was a tighter-than-expected outcome considering Southern Miss had a 4-32 record over the last three seasons and lost 49-0 to the Bulldogs last season in Starkville.

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But Mississippi State had two crucial first-half turnovers that helped keep Southern Miss in the game.

Fred Ross fumbled a punt deep in his own territory and Southern Miss recovered to set up a field goal. That followed another Mississippi State drive that ended inside the Southern Miss 10-yard line when Ashton Shumpert fumbled.

Holloway’s kickoff return put Mississippi State in front, then Southern Miss answered with an eight-play, 70-yard drive to regain the lead. Nick Mullens threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Jay’Shawn Washington to put USM ahead 10-7.

Mississippi State led 14-10 at halftime and pushed ahead 21-10 on Prescott’s 4-yard touchdown throw to Gus Walley. The Golden Eagles weren’t able to get any closer.

Prescott completed 22 of 38 passes for 237 yards and also added 72 yards rushing, including a 7-yard touchdown.

As a team, the Bulldogs rushed for 205 yards.

Mullens led Southern Miss with 311 yards passing while completing 30 of 44 attempts.

Korey Robertson caught six passes for 81 yards for USM, and Stephen Brauchle kicked three field goals of 31, 27 and 27 yards.

The Golden Eagles were hosting a Southeastern Conference opponent for the first time since 1989.