Dak Prescott threw for 211 yards and four touchdowns while also running for 111 yards and a touchdown to lead Mississippi State past Alabama-Birmingham 47-34 on Saturday night.
The Bulldogs (2-0) have won five straight games dating to last season. Josh Robinson rushed for a career-high 124 yards and a touchdown.
UAB (1-1) scored touchdowns on impressive pass plays of 88, 81 and 75 yards, but couldn't stop the Bulldogs often enough to make things close.
The Blazers grabbed a 20-19 lead midway through the second quarter after Ty Long's 46-yard field goal, but Mississippi State scored the next three touchdowns to take control of the game.
UAB's Jeremiah Briscoe threw for 231 yards and two touchdowns. Cody Clements threw for 167 yards, one touchdown and an interception.
The two teams combined for 1,064 total yards — UAB had 548 and Mississippi State 516.
The game was another encouraging sign that UAB — under first-year coach Bill Clark — could be on its way to rapid improvement. The Blazers had a 2-10 record last season but won their opener 48-10 over Troy and kept this one interesting for much of the afternoon.
Mississippi State's relatively difficult day was a 180-degree change from last weekend, when the Bulldogs easily defeated Southern Miss 49-0.
It also exposed some problem areas, including a porous pass defense and a shaky kicking game that included two missed extra points.
Things started well enough for Mississippi State, which scored on its third play after Prescott connected with Robert Johnson for a 68-yard touchdown.
The Bulldogs' defense chipped in when defensive lineman Preston Smith picked off a pass and rumbled 21 yards for the touchdown. It was the second straight week Smith had an interception and it pushed Mississippi State ahead 13-3 by the end of the first quarter.
But UAB responded with two touchdowns early in the second quarter to take a 17-13 lead. The first was a 2-yard run by Jordan Howard and the other was a stunning 88-yard pass from Briscoe to J.J. Nelson that left the stadium nearly silent.
It was one of many times the Bulldogs' secondary — which was supposed to be one of the team's strengths this year — was burned for a big gain. UAB had 435 passing yards.
The two teams went back and forth the remainder of the half before Prescott's 20-yard touchdown pass to Gus Walley gave the Bulldogs a 26-20 lead going into halftime.
Mississippi State scored the first two touchdowns of the second half — one on a 4-yard run by Prescott and the other on a 15-yard pass from Prescott to Joe Morrow — for a comfortable 40-20 lead that was never seriously challenged.
Prescott, who completed 12 of 25 passes, became the first quarterback at Mississippi State to throw for four touchdowns and run for at least 100 yards in the same game.
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