STARKVILLE – Mississippi State raced out to a 28-0 lead during the first two and a half quarters and claimed a 38-15 victory over in-state rival Southern Miss in Saturday's home opener at Davis Wade Stadium.
The Bulldogs (2-0) have won their last 11 regular season contests against non-conference teams highlighted by six-straight during the Joe Moorhead era.
Tommy Stevens ripped off nine consecutive completions for 105 yards fueled by scoring strikes to wide receivers Osirus Mitchell and Stephen Guidry. The nine completions marked the longest streak for a MSU quarterback to start a game since Dak Prescott went 12-for-12 for 166 yards and a touchdown against Arkansas in 2015.
Nick Gibson tacked on a 13-yard rushing touchdown with 42 seconds remaining in the opening half to bring State to a convincing, 21-0 advantage over the Golden Eagles.
Kylin Hill extended the lead to four scores with a 3-yard plunge into the end zone midway through the third quarter. Southern Miss broke up MSU's shutout attempt on a Jaylond Adams 28-yard reception 1:55 later.
After a successful field goal attempt by Jace Christmann, Southern Miss's Jack Abraham connected with Jordan Mitchell from 65 yards out to make 31-15 at the 6:31 mark of the fourth quarter.
Lee Witherspoon put the finishing touches on State's 38-15 victory with a 22-yard scamper with 2:20 remaining in the game.
Garrett Shrader, who entered the game late in the second quarter, hit on 7-of-11 of his pass attempts for 87 yards in his MSU debut.
MSU's rushing attack surpassed 200 yards on the ground in 10 of its last 14 games. Kylin Hill contributed 123 yards on 14 carries for an average of 8.8 yards per touch and amassed his fifth career 100-yard rushing game.
The Bulldogs continued to showcase their defensive prowess and limited Southern Miss to 151 yards in the first half. It marked the ninth time under defensive coordinator Bob Shoop that MSU held its opponent without a first-half touchdown, and the Bulldogs pitched their first opening shutout since the Texas A&M in 2017.
For the 32nd-consecutive quarter, the Bulldogs have not allowed a rushing touchdown in Scott Field.
The Maroon and White's defense was led by Brian Cole who recorded seven tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and one sack. Jaquarius Landrews and C.J. Morgan followed with six tackles each.
State continues its current three-game homestand next Saturday Sept. 14, hosting Kansas State (2-0). Kickoff is scheduled for 11 a.m. CT at Davis Wade Stadium. The game will be televised by ESPN or ESPN2 as well as through WatchESPN.