Scores

Final

Memphis 7

(0-1, 0-1 away)

Mississippi St 49

(1-0, 1-0 home)

Coverage: ESPNU

7:00 PM ET, September 4, 2010

Davis Wade Stadium, STARKVILLE, MS

1 2 3 4 T
MEM 0 0 0 77
MSST 14 7 21 749

Top Performers

Passing: T. Russell (MSST) - 256 YDS, 4 TD

Rushing: V. Ballard (MSST) - 7 CAR, 60 YDS, 2 TD

Receiving: B. Heavens (MSST) - 5 REC, 112 YDS, 2 TD

Tyler Russell records 4 TD passes in debut as Mississippi State cruises

Associated Press

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Backup quarterback Tyler Russell tied a school record with four touchdown passes in his debut and Mississippi State fell just shy of the mark for total yards on the way to a season-opening 49-7 win over Memphis on Saturday night.

Maurice Langston had two interceptions, Chad Bumphis and Brandon Heavens each caught two touchdowns and the Bulldogs ruined the debut of Tigers coach Larry Porter with the most points they've had since 2002.

Chris Relf started and played well, but Russell stole the show with a nearly flawless performance against the overmanned Tigers secondary. He's now one of seven Bulldogs quarterbacks tied for the school record of four passing touchdowns in a game.

The Bulldogs passed for 372 yards and finished with 569 total yards, just 27 shy of the school record.

Running back Vick Ballard also had two rushing touchdowns for Mississippi State, including a 51-yarder.

Relf overcame an interception on Mississippi State's first drive with a 55-yard touchdown pass to Leon Berry. He found Berry sprinting down the right sideline after Memphis' Akeem Davis fell in coverage and Berry eluded a tackler at the 10 for the score.

Russell, a redshirt freshman from nearby Meridian, took over on the next series and led a crisp drive, completing all three passes and hitting Brandon Heavens with a 20-yard scoring pass that went through the hands of defensive back Marcus Ball and over two defenders.

Ballard made it 21-0 with his long run untouched up the middle with 2:21 left till halftime.

The Tigers finished the first quarter with minus-7 yards rushing and continuously got in their own way to let the Bulldogs pull away.

Memphis entered Mississippi State territory four times in the first half. They missed field goals on two trips, had a holding call wipe away a first-and-10 at the Bulldogs 15 and lost another chance on Ryan Williams' first interception. They also failed to convert eight third-down tries.

Russell started the second half and picked apart the Tigers secondary before hitting Heavens with a 27-yard touchdown pass.

Maurice Langston picked off Williams a second time on Memphis' opening series, setting up Ballard's second touchdown on a 1-yard dive and Russell hit Bumphis with a 57-yard touchdown pass on the Bulldogs' next drive. Then he added a 25-yard scoring pass to Bumphis in the fourth quarter.

He completed 12 of 13 passes on his four scoring drives for 218 yards and finished 13 of 16 for 256 overall. He played all but one series in the second half as Relf rested on the sidelines and listened to coaches call plays on a headset.

Relf showed improvement as a passer, completing 7 of 9 for 116 yards. But he was most effective on the option and in tandem with LaDarius Perkins. Relf finished with 20 yards rushing, Perkins had 57 and Ballard had 60.

Porter, a former Tigers tailback who served as LSU's running backs coach before being hired to replace Tommy West last winter, pulled starting quarterback Cannon Smith after three inconsistent series. Williams played into the fourth quarter, hitting 10 of 17 passes for 85 yards, before Smith returned late in the fourth to throw for the team's only points -- a 27-yard touchdown to Marcus Rucker.

The Tigers, 2-10 last season, managed just 237 total yards, committed eight penalties for 88 yards and converted just 2 of 15 third downs.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
MEM
MSST
1st Downs928
Total Yards237569
Passing196372
Rushing41197
Penalties8-883-30
3rd Down Conversions2-155-10
4th Down Conversions0-00-0
Turnovers21
Possession28:4431:16

Passing Leaders

MemphisC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Smith10/151117.410
Mississippi StateC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Russell13/1625616.040

Rushing Leaders

MemphisCARYDSAVGTDLG
Rhodes10262.6012
Ray9202.2013
Mississippi StateCARYDSAVGTDLG
Ballard7608.6251
Perkins8577.1019

Receiving Leaders

MemphisRECYDSAVGTDLG
McKenzie5459.0020
Rucker34515.0127
Mississippi StateRECYDSAVGTDLG
Heavens511222.4228
Bumphis410025.0257

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERMEMMSST
TD10:04Leon Berry 55 Yd Pass From Chris Relf (Sean Brauchle Kick) 07
TD06:11Brandon Heavens 20 Yd Pass From Tyler Russell (Derek Depasquale Kick) 014
SECOND QUARTERMEMMSST
TD01:58Vick Ballard 51 Yd Run (Derek Depasquale Kick) 021
THIRD QUARTERMEMMSST
TD12:23Brandon Heavens 27 Yd Pass From Tyler Russell (Derek Depasquale Kick) 028
TD09:45Vick Ballard 1 Yd Run (Derek Depasquale Kick) 035
TD06:57Chad Bumphis 57 Yd Pass From Tyler Russell (Derek Depasquale Kick) 042
FOURTH QUARTERMEMMSST
TD11:23Chad Bumphis 25 Yd Pass From Tyler Russell (Derek Depasquale Kick) 049
TD01:39Marcus Rucker 27 Yd Pass From Cannon Smith (Paulo Henriques Kick) 749