Mississippi State is juggling quarterbacks Tyler Russell and Dak Prescott and naming them as co-starters, but the Bulldogs’ 21-20 win over Bowling Green and the lack of rhythm on offense shows that Dan Mullen needs to pick one and stick with him.
A win is a win as Mississippi State is now halfway toward bowl eligibility for the fourth straight season, but that was about as ugly as it gets. If Mullen rode either Russell or Prescott, I highly doubt the outcome would have been decided by the narrowest of margins.
It’s not uncommon for Mullen to rotate quarterbacks as he’s done it pretty much his entire time in Starkville, but rotating them in and out during the same series causes complete chaos and instability. Both have shown they are worthy of starting, and Mullen undoubtedly feels indebted to his fifth-year senior, but Russell needs to take a back seat to the more athletic Prescott, who gives the ‘Dawgs their best chance at winning.
Prescott completed seven of his 11 attempts for 75 yards and a pick, but did his damage on the ground with a career-high 139 yards on 15 carries, including a 75-yard touchdown. This is already his third 100-yard game on the year. You can see the spark and the extra pep in the step of the offense when he is leading the offense.
It is no sleight to Russell, who has done some wonderful things with this program, but you just don’t see that with him behind center.
Mississippi State was lucky to escape with a win in a game that frankly shouldn’t have been that close had Mullen made a decision rather than straddling the fence. He should ride with Prescott and let him develop his passing skills without fear that he will be pulled if he throws an interception. Developing means there will be some mistakes, but those are growing pains and he’ll learn from them.
Prescott is the future of this team and he ought to be the present as well.