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STARKVILLE, Miss — – Will Rogers threw for 406 yards and tied a school record with six touchdown passes on Saturday as Mississippi State rebounded from a loss with a 45-14 victory over Bowling Green.
“I think it’s a good game for everyone,” Rogers said. “I think we bounced back well from what we did last week. I think it was key that we got out and started fast. I still think there are things we can do on work, so we have to be perfect in everything we do.”
After having a more balanced offense than normal for most of the first two games, the Air Raid came back for Mike Leach’s team against the Falcons. Rogers completed 38 of 49 passes, finding 12 different receivers.
It was the third time this season that Rogers had completed at least 78% of his passes. The six touchdowns tied his own school record he set a season ago. He also rushed for 400 yards for the seventh time in three seasons.
Caleb slips away had seven catches for a career-high 96 yards and two touchdowns for the Bulldogs (3-1). Lideatrick “Tulu” Griffin had five catches for 54 yards and a touchdown and added 70 more yards on two kick returns.
One of the keys to Saturday’s offense was an increase in pace. MSU is known for winning possession time the most often under Leach. On Saturday, Bowling Green won that stat from 32:48 to 27:12, but MSU scored five of its six touchdowns at 2:30 or faster.
“I thought that was the best pace we’ve had this year and maybe since I’ve been here,” Leach said. “We still have a way to go, but we are improving.”
Bowling Green was without a starting quarterback Matt McDonald, absent for an unspecified reason. In its place, North Camden went 17 of 28 for 172 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. The Falcons (1-3) were beaten 462-246 and had just 45 rushing yards.
“Obviously it’s not the result we wanted, but they played hard,” interim coach Steve Morrison said. “The way we see it, we move forward and our season starts with our MAC conference schedule. That’s what we’re 100% focused on.”
Nathanael Watson led the MSU defense with 10 tackles. The MSU defense gave up a few touchdowns, including a 97-yard touchdown in the first half, then a touchdown in the 3rd quarter against the second team.
It was otherwise a good day at the office for the unit which forced eight punts and had a turnover with Shawn Preston Jr.Interception of . just before halftime.
Bowling Green was without coach Scot Loeffler due to “a personal health issue,” the school said Friday. The school gave no details on Loeffler’s condition, but said he was scheduled to return to the sidelines for the Falcons’ next game against Akron on Oct. 1.
Mississippi State struggled on the offensive side of the ball against LSU and let a potential big road win slip away in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. support SEC West home teams in Texas A&M and Arkansas.
Mississippi State hosts Texas A&M on Oct. 1 while Bowling Green travels to Akron.