MSU raced out to a 37-0 lead at the half and never looked back, crushing Vandy 51-0 on Saturday in Starkville.
It’s always interesting to see how upstart teams like Mississippi State handle a setback. Sometimes, it’s the end of a magical run. But in the case of the Bulldogs, it appeared to be a motivational factor. After losing to the Alabama Crimson Tide 25-20 last week, Dan Mullen and his team rebounded by doing exactly what they needed to do this weekend. The fact that they were able to beat another SEC team so badly, even if that team is Vanderbilt, could be favorable in the eyes of the College Football Playoff committee.
The win also sets up next week’s showdown with the Ole Miss Rebels in the Egg Bowl. If Mississippi State has hopes of being in the playoff’s top four, they simply must go to Oxford and win. Especially since their arch rivals, the Rebels, appear to be reeling after losing three of four games.
Dak Prescott accounted for four touchdowns in the win over Vandy, three through the air and one on the ground. The MSU defense, which held the Commodores in check all night, also scored in the first half, when Christian Holmes returned a fumble 47 yards for a score.
The season could have gone in a different direction had the Bulldogs not bounced back in this game. Now, they have a must-win game, on the road, against their arch rivals, to possibly earn a spot in the first playoff. And that would keep this upstart dreaming big.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.