After each win, Logan Lowery of the Daily Journal recognizes several players and a coach that had outstanding performances and played a major role in Mississippi State’s victory. Check out who his offensive, defensive, special teams and coach of the week were.
Quarterback Dak Prescott
Sophomore * 6-2 * 230 * Haughton, La.
Passing: 12-of-19 for 174 yards, two touchdowns Rushing: four carries for 20 yards, one touchdown
Logan’s take: Having covered Prescott during the recruiting process, I knew he was a passer. After all he threw for 2,860 and 39 touchdowns his senior year of high school. Prescott has been primarily been used as a runner so far during his career at MSU but got his opportunity on Saturday to prove he can pass. He set career-highs in nearly all passing categories in his first start and did all that only playing in the first half.
Linebacker Deontae Skinner
Senior * 6-2 * 250 * Macon, Miss.
Defense: five tackles (one solo, four assists), one interception
Logan’s take: Skinner has led the Bulldogs in tackles in back-to-back games and did so Saturday playing in only the first half. He notched his first career interception on the opening drive of the game following two Alcorn State first downs. That play set the tone for the defense for the next two-plus quarters by not allowing a first down. Skinner was a high school defensive end and has been good against the run during his college career at linebacker. His pass coverage skills have improved each year and it was good to see him rewarded with his first pick.
Returner/ Athlete Brandon Holloway
Redshirt freshman * 5-8 * 165 * Tampa, Fla.
Kickoff return: one return for 95 yards Rushing: four carries for 28 yards Receiving: two catches for 25 yards
Logan’s take: Much has been written about Holloway’s speed, especially after his strong showing in the spring game. He is extremely dangerous in space and that’s exactly what he got on the opening kickoff of the second half. Holloway broke into the open field and raced 95 yards until he was tripped up at the 1-yard line setting up the Bulldogs sixth touchdown of the day. He is a fun player to watch but his hands have been an issue. It appears that Holloway has improved in that area and can be a weapon on offense and special teams.
Running back Ashton Shumpert
True freshman * 6-2 * 215 * Fulton, Miss.
Rushing: 22 carries for 98 yards, two touchdowns Receiving: one catch for 14 yards
Logan’s take: I thought Shumpert was the top prospect that MSU signed in February and his first performance backed up my claim. He looked every much the workhorse running back that he was at Itawamba AHS last year and seemed to get stronger as the game progressed. Shumpert is a physical running that sometimes seeks out contact. Although the Bulldogs are stacked in the backfield, I don’t think this will be the last time Shumpert makes an impact this season.
Defensive coordinator/ linebackers Geoff Collins
Logan’s take: Collins has been impressive in both games calling the shots this season. Saturday his starting defense held Alcorn State to 30 yards on 30 plays and only two first downs in the first half. Although the defense has produced only one sack this season, their quarterback hurries per game has more than doubled from last year (2.1 to 4.5). Collins’ defense featured four new starters but did not miss a beat.