Bulldogs blast Bucs: Mississippi state takes on East Tennessee state in Egg Bowl vote

STARKVILLE — Lideatrick Griffin shot through a seam on the opening kickoff and set Mississippi State up at East Tennessee State’s 41-yard line before the Bulldogs could take a single offensive snap.

It was an early indicator of how the rest of the game would go.

MSU (7-4, 3-4 Southeastern Conference) scored three games later, led 35-0 at halftime and sealed a dominant but uneventful 56-7 win over ETSU (3-8, 1- 7 Southern Conference). at Davis Wade Stadium.

No one could have faulted the Bulldogs for looking ahead to their rivalry match with No. 14 Ole Miss (8-2, 4-2 SEC) just five days later in Oxford.

But when MSU looked ahead, it didn’t look past a struggling FCS enemy in ETSU.

The Bulldogs did what they had to do against the Buccaneers, scoring early and often to secure a comfortable win and setting some records along the way.

Quarterback Will Rogers racked up 10,000 career passing yards and passed Ole Miss’ Eli Manning for ninth place in the SEC. Rogers finished 30 of 37 for 301 yards and five touchdowns.

Cornerback Emmanuel Forbes’ 76-yard interception return touchdown was the sixth of his career, setting a new SEC record and tying the all-time record in FBS football.

Griffin caught a pair of touchdown passes from Rogers, including a score to limit MSU’s opening drive. The 12-yard smash was Rogers’ longest touchdown pass of the day.

The junior quarterback also linked with Rara Thomas, Austin Williams and Justin Robinson as he made passes. Thomas caught an 8-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, Williams had a 5-yard touchdown grab in the third, and Robinson caught Roger’s final touchdown from 8 yards late in the third.

Jo’quavious Marks ran for a 22-yard score in the second quarter.

Rogers’ day ended after three quarters on Saturday when graduating quarterback Chance Lovetich replaced Junior and promptly led a touchdown drive of his own. Graduate running back JJ Jernighan capped possession with a 2-yard rushing touchdown early in the fourth quarter as the Bulldogs emptied their bench.

Redshirt freshman Sawyer Robertson took over after Lovetich’s second drive but threw an interception on his second pass of the game.

It was the fourth pick of the game between both teams as MSU intercepted ETSU quarterbacks Tyler Riddell and Baron May three times — including Forbes’ pick-six from a deflected pass — and knocked out the Buccaneers on offense.

East Tennessee State’s only touchdown came from a blocked punt and subsequent return with 8:07 to play, putting the Bucs on the board.

MSU held ETSU to just 154 total yards collecting 418 from his own.

The Bulldogs, of course, have a much tougher task ahead of them on Thanksgiving night. MSU meets Ole Miss in the 119th Egg Bowl Rivalry game Thursday at 6 p.m. at Oxford’s Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

Theo DeRosa covers Mississippi State sports for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter at @Theo_DeRosa.

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