STARKVILLE, Miss. – The first half of Mississippi State's football season was perfect.
Now Dak Prescott and the Bulldogs get some time to decompress before the second half begins.
No. 1 Mississippi State (6-0, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) is off this weekend after winning three straight games against top-10 opponents. The Bulldogs don't play again until a road game against Kentucky on Oct. 25.
"It's good to get a little break where you don't have to prepare and scout so hard as if you were playing on a Saturday," Prescott said. "It comes at a valuable time after a good little stretch."
Prescott said it's impossible to dodge the hype that has surrounded Mississippi State's rapid rise to the top of the college football world. But the quarterback insists all the attention is easy to deflect.
"I read (the stories) like it's not even really my name," Prescott said. "I just continue to focus. People are always going to talk — good or bad — so we're just trying to give them something good to talk about."
Coach Dan Mullen said it only took a few minutes of film study to figure out that the Bulldogs' 38-23 victory over Auburn on Saturday wasn't exactly flawless.
At times, he sounded as if the Bulldogs were 0-6 instead of 6-0.
"We have tons of weaknesses — I've watched the game film," Mullen said. "We turned the ball over four times, we weren't very good on third down during the second half and we gave up a 99-yard touchdown drive during the game. There are a lot of things we really need to improve on."
But certainly, the Bulldogs have been doing some things right. They've had nearly perfect balance on offense this season, with 1,586 yards rushing and 1,592 yards passing.
Josh Robinson ranks second in the SEC with 689 yards rushing and eight touchdowns while averaging seven yards per carry. Prescott isn't far behind, ranked fifth in the league with 576 yards rushing and eight touchdowns.
Mullen and Prescott said the best aspect of the team is the role players who have stepped up and given the team big contributions during important moments.
"We have a lot of talent and guys who are ready to play and embrace the moment when they have to step in," Prescott said. "They aren't scared to do it."
A good example was two weeks ago, when Ben Beckwith moved from guard to center and Devon Desper made his first career start on the offensive line after starting center Dillon Day was suspended for one game by the SEC for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Beckwith and Desper both played well in Mississippi State's 48-31 victory over Texas A&M, and Beckwith was the SEC offensive lineman of the week.
Mullen said performances like that have allowed the Bulldogs to have perfect start to the season, even if some mistakes have been made along the way.
"Everybody plays very well together as a team," Mullen said. "And when we need big things to happen, they happen. When we need a big drive, the offense makes it happen. When we need a big stop, we get one. And I think all the guys believe in each other."
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