Memphis, TN (SportsNetwork.com) - Dak Prescott accounted for five touchdowns to lead the Mississippi State Bulldogs to a 44-7 victory over the Rice Owls in the Liberty Bowl.
Prescott completed 17-of-28 passes for 283 yards and three scores and carried the ball 14 times for 78 yards and two touchdowns. Jameon Lewis caught nine passes for 220 yards for the Bulldogs (7-6), who won their final three games.
Charles Ross rushed 10 times for 28 yards and a touchdown for Rice (10-4), which had a four-game win streak snapped. Taylor McHargue went 8-for-15 for 84 yards.
"It was a really dominating defensive effort. They (Rice) are a team that was one of the top rushing teams in the country, averaging over 200 yards rushing a game. We held them to 61 yards rushing and 145 total offense yards. It was just a very smothering effort by our defense. We gave up an early drive off a turnover and after that, that was about it." said Bulldogs head coach Dan Mullen.
On its second possession, which came after a Mississippi St. turnover, Rice faced 4th-and-1 at the Bulldogs' 36-yard line before Luke Turner ran 13 yards for the first down.
Three plays later, an 18-yard completion from McHargue to Dennis Parks brought the Owls inside the Bulldogs' 10-yard line. Back-to-back rushes by Ross got Rice on the board first, the last coming from a yard out.
The Bulldogs' next drive saw Prescott connect with Lewis for 28 yards on 3rd- and-11 to bring Mississippi St. down to the Owls' 11-yard line. Two plays later, Prescott completed a 10-yard pass to LaDarius Perkins for a tying touchdown with 2:01 left in first quarter.
After Rice went three-and-out at the end of the quarter, Mississippi St. drove 64 yards on 10 plays to take the lead when Ashton Shumpert charged through the line for a 1-yard touchdown.
The drive was highlighted by a 35-yard completion to Lewis on 3rd-and-3 two plays before the score.
"It was the game plan, the game plan worked. I was just happy that Dak [Prescott] kept finding me. I am thankful to the coaches for putting me in the right situation to make plays for this team." said Lewis.
Another stalled Owl possession led to a Mississippi State 7-play, 64-yard drive that ended with a 13-yard touchdown catch by Malcolm Johnson with 4:32 to play in the first half. However, Rice blocked the extra point to make the score 20-7 Bulldogs.
With 1:25 left in the half, Mississippi St. took over on its own 45-yard line. The Bulldogs drove 55 yards on five plays for another Prescott touchdown pass, with Artimas Samuel on the receiving end of the 4-yard toss to give the Bulldogs a 27-7 halftime lead.
On Mississippi State's second possession of the second half, Josh Robinson ran 40 yards to bring the Bulldogs to the Owls' 5-yard line. Prescott rushed for a score on the next play.
The next Bulldogs drive lasted four plays and ended with another Prescott touchdown. A 23-yard completion to Lewis and a 26-yard pass to De'Runnya Wilson led to Prescott's 11-yard touchdown run that extended the lead to 41-7.
The Bulldogs scored the last points of the game with 4:17 to play, when Taylor Earhart kicked through a 20-yard field goal to cap a 7-play, 28-yard drive.
Rice has not been shut out since 2000, a span of 159 games ... Rice has not shut out an opponent since the 1995 season (221 games) ... The Bulldogs are 3-1 all-time in the Liberty Bowl ... Mississippi St. outgained Rice by a 533-145 margin in total yards.