Fitzgerald accounts for six TDs as Bulldogs blast Louisiana-Lafayette

Published 10:51 pm Saturday, September 15, 2018

STARKVILLE (AP) — Nick Fitzgerald accounted for 350 yards of offense and six touchdowns to lead No. 16 Mississippi State to a 56-10 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday night.

Fitzgerald ran for 107 yards and four touchdowns, the second time he’s had four rushing touchdowns in a game. Fitzgerald also completed 14 of 21 passes for 243 yards and two touchdowns.

Aeris Williams added 101 yards and a touchdown on the ground for Mississippi State (3-0). The Bulldogs totaled 607 yards of offense with 331 of it on the ground.

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“We challenged the team after last week and we addressed those this week,” Mississippi State coach Joe Moorhead. “Louisiana came out with a field goal and we responded well and dictated the game in all three phases. We took a positive step forward tonight but by no means are we there yet. But I like our improved execution and I think we’re getting better every week.”

As a team, Mississippi State produced six rushing touchdowns and did so for the first time since the 2000 season against Middle Tennessee State. Keith Mixon led the Bulldogs with four catches for 80 yards and one touchdown, while Stephen Guidry added three catches for 57 yards and one touchdown.

Louisiana’s Andrew Nunez was 21-of-29 for 224 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He threw a 4-yard scoring pass to Jamarcus Bradley in the fourth quarter.

Louisiana (1-1) got on the board first with a 38-yard field goal from Kyle Pfau early in the first quarter. But it was all Mississippi State after that. The Bulldogs scored on all five of their first-half possessions.

“I thought Nick had some good reads and good throws on third downs and did it into tight coverage,” Moorhead said. “To be honest, it wasn’t a big amount of variation from what we did last week and we just saw things we could have done better on some of those overthrows. I was confident in Nick knocking some rust off and knew he would improve in Game 2. Nick took the corrections from last week and we expected that. He took a step in the right direction.”

Fitzgerald was 8-of-13 passing for 171 yards and a touchdown pass to Guidry in the opening half. The fifth-year senior also rushed for 81 yards and three scores in the half.

Louisiana was 0-for-5 on third down in the opening half and also failed on all three fourth-down conversion attempts. For the game, the Ragin’ Cajuns converted just 4 of 13 on third down while Mississippi State was 8-of-11 on third down.