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MSU Notebook: Bulldogs make changes to defensive line


Matthew Stevens



STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State is dealing with another defensive player being injured in the past month leaving a big hole in the middle of the line.  


Junior defensive tackle P.J. Jones has been sidelined since the season-opening game with a unknown left foot injury that has held him out of action in each of the first two home games. 


Freshman defensive lineman Chris Jones has been more than a adequate replacement starting at defensive tackle in place of P.J. Jones in the last two home games. Chris Jones had three tackles and one for a loss in Saturday's 62-7 victory over Troy.  


"I'm not a defensive tackle," Jones said Sept. 7 after the victory over Alcorn State. "I'm a defensive end that is playing defensive tackle for the moment. Hopefully my label and position is going to change." 


P.J. Jones, who has three career starts, has been seen around campus with a cast on his left foot and has been limited in practice in the last month despite playing two weeks ago at Auburn.  


Chris Jones, he nation's second-ranked recruit in the country according to when he arrived on campus, who played at 250 pounds at Houston High School, arrived at camp and weighed "closer to 300 pounds" according to MSU defensive line coach David Turner - a weight he feels Jones can handle this season. 


"We joke with him, you're going to be a three-technique in the future," junior defensive lineman P.J. Jones said in preseason camp. "He's like 'No, I'm going to play defensive end!' I'm was like, 'Man, you weigh more than the inside guy.'" 


Prescott and Lewis make SEC history Saturday in blowout win : Dak Prescott and Jameon Lewis made Southeastern Conference history Saturday. 


For the first time in league history two players on the same team were able to throw, run and receive a touchdown in the same game.  


In a first half that saw them leave the field with a 45-7 lead, Prescott led MSU in passing yards (207), rushing yards (53) and also accounted for a 36-yard touchdown catch on a trick play. According to, MSU had never had a player since 1978 account for a touchdown by running, throwing and catching the football. 


"That was fun wasn't it?" MSU coach Dan Mullen asked the media after the game. "We got to start having more fun like that from now on don't we?" 


With 13 minutes and 44 seconds left in the second quarter of the 62-7 victory over Troy, Lewis added another element and statistic to his MSU career - passing touchdown. On a throwback pass trick play, Lewis connected with a wide open Dak Prescott and the sophomore quarterback was able to rumble behind four blockers downfield for 36 yards for the score. The touchdown was MSU's first as a offense and put the Bulldogs up 17-7 early in what would be the most prolific scoring first half for MSU in the modern era.  


"I told him everything better go the right way," Prescott joked after the 36-yard touchdown from Lewis on the trick play. "He got it too me and that's all that counts in a pass in my book." 


Prescott finished with 13 of 21 through the air for 233 yards and a touchdown. The 240-pound quarterback also led MSU in rushing in the first half with 53 yards a two scores. In just over 12 minutes directing the MSU offense, Prescott accounted for a career-high 296 all-purpose yards.  


Minutes after the victory over Troy Saturday, Mullen made sure everybody was clear on who was the starting quarterback of his football. The problem was the person he named didn't play in the 55-point blowout at Davis Wade Stadium. 


"Tyler (Russell) is our starting quarterback," Mullen said Saturday. "We plan on Tyler being the starter against LSU and going forward." 


Mullen gave such an impression in the week leading up to last week's win over Troy when he said the staff expected Russell to be back after the bye week for a nationally relevant matchup against No. 6 LSU on Oct. 5. 


"They've been a good defense for so many years that we'll certainly need that extra week of preparation for them before they come in here," Prescott said. "It'll be a big game and I expect the emotion to be high any time we play LSU." 


Follow Matt Stevens on Twitter @matthewcstevens.



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