By Myra Bean
Freshman quarter Will Rogers led the Mississippi State Bulldogs to a 24-17 Homecoming win over Vanderbilt in his first start of the season.
The Bulldogs (2-4) staved off a last quarter surge by Vanderbilt (0-5) with forcing five turnovers.
Rogers completed 35 of 46 pass attempts for 226 yards and one touchdown.
Malik Heath was the leading receiver with nine catches for 79 yards.
Jo’Quavious Marks was the leading rusher with 11 yards on six carries and one touchdown. Dillon Johnson had one carry for four yards and a touchdown.
On defense Landon Guidry, Martin Emerson, Marcus Murphy and Aaron Brule each had 10 total tackles.
Intercepting passes were safety Collin Duncan, linebacker and captain Erroll Thompson and defensive end Marquiss Spencer. Tyrus Wheat forced a fumble that was recovered by Esaias Furdge. Wheat also recorded a strip sack and recovered the fumble.
Osirus Mitchell scored on a six-yard pass from Rogers with 11:47 left in the first quarter for the Bulldogs to take a 7-0 lead on Brandon Ruiz’s extra point kick.
The Bulldogs took a 14-0 lead on Dillon Johnson’s four-yard run and Ruiz’s kick with 2:33 left in the first.
Ruiz kicked a 25-yard field goal with 9:24 left in the first half for the 17-0 score which the Bulldogs took into halftime.
Vanderbilt made a run with two touchdowns in the third quarter to cut the score 17-14 Bulldogs.
Freshman running back Jo’Quavious Marks made the last touchdown a one-yard run with 2:43 left in the game.
Vanderbilt scored the final score of the game a 41-yard field with 38 seconds left. Vanderbilt tried the onside kick but the Bulldogs recovered and took a knee to end the contest.
Mississippi State will host Auburn (4-2) Sat., Nov. 14 at 3 p.m. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.