A little bit of mystery and intrigue surrounds the quarterback situation at Mississippi State with Tyler Russell expected to be back on the field for the first time since he was concussed during the season opening loss vs. Oklahoma State. In his absence Dak Prescott has looked like a much better player at the game’s most important position, but he won’t be starting.
“Tyler (Russell) is our starting quarterback,” head coach Dan Mullen said Saturday. “We plan on Tyler being the starter against LSU and going forward.”
“I do feel a lot more comfortable now that Dak has got a couple of starts under his belt,” Mullen tells the Clarion-Ledger. “Having two starting quarterbacks is a good problem to have. I feel pretty comfortable with both guys.”
The only question is which quarterback does he feel most comfortable with and how will the time be split among the two assuming both will see extensive action. Mullen has maintained Russell will regain his starting job when he is cleared medically, but Prescott has been awfully impressive in his three starts.
Prescott is 2-1 in his three starts and is 10 seconds away at Auburn from being undefeated. He is averaging 69.3 yards per game as a runner with five touchdowns in the three games showing a dual-threat which is not a part of Russell’s skill-set and gives LSU a different dimension to scheme against.
Furthermore, Prescott is more than capable of throwing from within the pocket with a 58.8 completion percentage which is .2 percent better than Russell’s last season when he set school passing records for yards and touchdowns.
However, Mullen seems indebted to Russell and will get him on the field, but if he struggles early, I would expect to see Prescott behind center awfully quick. Mullen can’t afford to be patient against LSU and can’t give up possessions while Russell shakes off the rust.
Mississippi State needs to take advantage of any flaws LSU has on defense and try to do what Aaron Murray and Georgia did last week. The past six quarters have shown the LSU defense is not what fans have grown accustomed to in Baton Rouge, so State won’t be facing the impenetrable unit they’ve struggled so mightily against in recent years.
Whether it’s Russell or Prescott taking the majority of the snaps on Saturday, Mississippi State will need it’s quarterback to have his best game of his career to pick up the Bulldog’s first win since their championship season in 1999.