No. 15 Southeastern Drops Season Opener at Mississippi State
STARKVILLE, Miss. – The reigning Southland Conference champion Southeastern Louisiana University football team dropped a 48-7 decision to Mississippi State in the season opener for both teams Saturday afternoon at Davis Wade Stadium.
Southeastern (0-1) cut the Bulldog lead to 10-7 late in the second quarter, but Mississippi State (1-0) would score 38 unanswered points to pull away for the win, outscoring the No. 15 Lions, 28-0 after halftime.
Eli Sawyer (11-for-19, 85 yards) and Zachary Clement (5-for-10, 40 yards, 1 TD) shared time under center for Southeastern, which finished with 208 total yards. Harlan Dixon led SLU with 51 yards rushing, as well as four catches for 42 yards.
Ian Goodly led Southeastern with 15 tackles, while Herman Christophe IV was credited with 10 stops. All-SEC quarterback Will Rogers (20-for-29, 227 yards, 2 TD) engineered a 525-yard offensive output for the Bulldogs, while Jo’Quavious Marks led the MSU ground attack with 127 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries.
The two teams traded punts to open the game before the Bulldogs got on the board first with a 12-play, 56-yard scoring drive. Khamron Ford sacked Rogers to force MSU into a 47-yard field goal by Kyle Ferrie that staked the Bulldogs to a 3-0 advantage with 4:02 left in the opening quarter.
On the opening play of the second quarter, Mississippi State’s Nathaniel Watson stripped Jacob Logan to allow MSU to take over at the Lion 36-yard line. Three plays later, Marks powered in from a yard out to extend the lead to 10-0 with 13:46 left in the opening half.
On the ensuing possession, SLU got on the scoreboard. Sawyer engineered a 16-play, 89-yard drive that took just over eight minutes off the clock. The Lions converted three-of-four third-down tries and a fourth-down attempt on the scoring drive, as Clement found Logan from two yards out to pull the Lions within, 10-7, with 5:32 left in the second quarter.
The Bulldogs answered right back. Rogers found Creed Whittemore from 33 yards out to give MSU a 17-7 advantage with 1:29 remaining in the half. After a SLU three-and-out, Mississippi State tacked on a 49-yard Ferrie field goal to go into the break with a 20-7 lead.
Southeastern went three-and-out to start the third quarter and Mississippi State drove deep into Lion territory. However, Anthony Britton Jr. broke up a Rogers pass on fourth-and-four to turn the Bulldogs over and keep the score at 20-7.
The Bulldogs finally added to their lead late in the third quarter. A 51-yard quarterback keeper by Mike Wright set up a five-yard scoring toss from Rogers to Jaden Walley to send MSU into the final quarter up, 27-7.
On the first play of the final period, John Lewis blocked an Austin Dunlap punt and Trent Singleton returned it 11 yards to give MSU a 34-7 lead seven seconds into the fourth quarter.
Mississippi State added to its lead after a Southeastern punt, as Marks found the end zone from six yards out to extend the Bulldog advantage to 41-7 with 9:20 remaining. MSU further lengthened its lead when Whittemore broke loose on a 53-yard end around to put the Bulldogs up, 48-7, with 5:19 remaining to close out the scoring.
Next, the Lions will travel to South Alabama for a 4 p.m. contest Sept. 9 in Mobile, Alabama in the second of three straight Southeastern road games to start 2023.
See a spelling or grammar error in our story? Click Here to report it. Please include the headline.
Subscribe to the Fox 8 YouTube channel.
Copyright 2023 WVUE. All rights reserved.