Sep 11, 2021; Starkville, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs wide receiver Austin Williams (85) returns a punt against the North Carolina State Wolfpack during the second quarter at Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

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Mississippi State uses big play to race past Wolfpack

Will Rogers threw for two touchdowns and Mississippi State also received a boost on the game’s first play in a 24-10 victory against visiting North Carolina State on Saturday night in Starkville, Miss.

Lideatrick Griffin returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown.

After that, Mississippi State (2-0) relied on its passing attack, with Rogers going 33-for-49 for 294 yards through the air. The Bulldogs were credited with only 22 rushing yards.

The second touchdown pass from Rogers went for 4 yards to Jaden Walley on the Bulldogs’ first possession of the second half, stretching the lead to 21-3. Rogers began to scramble from the pocket before unleashing the pass.

NC State quarterback Devin Leary was 30-for-49 for 303 yards and an interception. The Wolfpack’s touchdown came on Leary’s 4-yard pass to Thayer Thomas with 1:06 left in the game.

Mississippi State was up 24-3 on Nolan McCord’s 32-yard field goal with 12:30 to play.

NC State committed each of the game’s three turnovers.

The Wolfpack (1-1) never fully recovered from Griffin’s dash.

NC State botched a couple of early scoring chances, with running back Ricky Person Jr.’s pass intercepted by Jalen Green in the end zone and Christopher Dunn missing on a 48-yard field goal attempt.

But aided by a fourth-down offsides call on Mississippi State that prolonged a drive, the Wolfpack got on the board in the second quarter on Dunn’s 45-yard field goal.

The Bulldogs converted a fourth-down play and went on to score with 1:09 remaining in the first half on Rogers’ 21-pass to Malik Heath on the side of the end zone, completing a 13-play, 83-yard drive. That possession accounted for more than half of Mississippi State’s total yards in the first half.

That was also a costly sequence for NC State because standout linebacker Payton Wilson was lost for the rest of the game with an injury.

NC State hasn’t won a road game against a Southeastern Conference team since 1991 at South Carolina.

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