Mississippi State

Freshmen shine, Mississippi State now prepares for Kentucky

Mississippi State running back Aeris Williams (27) runs against Louisiana Tech defensive end Jaylon Ferguson (45) during the second half of a NCAA college football game in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Jim Lytle)
Mississippi State running back Aeris Williams (27) runs against Louisiana Tech defensive end Jaylon Ferguson (45) during the second half of a NCAA college football game in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Jim Lytle) AP

Freshmen shine, Mississippi State now prepares for Kentucky

After trailing 14-0 in the first quarter, Mississippi State outscored visiting Louisiana Tech 45-6 over the next three quarters with a 45-20 victory on Saturday at Davis-Wade Stadium.

What we learned

Mississippi State's freshmen are in for a big career. The Bulldogs (5-2) have been breaking in newcomers all season and their reps increase each week. On Saturday, a few of those freshmen had big-time performances.

Safety Brandon Bryant has constantly been a factor in the secondary since the season opener and his role increased. Bryant has been the most impressive player in the secondary, including potential early-round draft pick Will Redmond at cornerback.

Bryant was MSU's third-leading tackler of the day with six stops and added a huge blocked punt recovery to set up a late second-quarter touchdown and a game-sealing 73 yard interception return for a touchdown.

Malik Dear's 99-yard kick return for a touchdown was called back but has continued to make a difference offensively when Fred Ross went out with an injury. Dear ended the game with a career-high six catches for 70 yards, second-best on the team.

With Ashton Shumpert out for the game with a back injury, Aeris Williams and Dontavian Lee both stepped in and filled roles. Williams finished with six carries for 26 yards. Lee had three carries for 21 yards, but fumbled on an 11-yard reception.

When the group cleans up a few mistakes, they'll be exciting moving forward.

What's next

MSU returns to SEC play next week when they host Kentucky at 6:30 p.m. Saturday on the SEC Network.

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MSU has won six-straight in the series with Dan Mullen carrying an undefeated record against the Wildcats.

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