November 3, 2013 12:10:32 AM
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen couldn't contain his anger at halftime Saturday.
With about 30 seconds left and inside South Carolina territory, the Bulldogs had an opportunity to score before halftime. After it burned three timeouts and gained only 3 yards, MSU failed to get set up for a field goal before time expired in the first half and trailed 17-10 at intermission.
"That's an embarrassment of a half," Mullen screamed in his halftime interview with MSU's radio broadcast. "Poor clock management (and) poor coaching."
After MSU sophomore quarterback Dak Prescott rushed for a 14-yard gain, MSU took its first timeout of the half and tried to draw up a pass play to get into field goal range for Evan Sobiesk. However, Prescott was pressured and he threw the football in the direction of an offensive lineman. It was the second time Prescott threw to a lineman, but this time he was flagged for intentional grounding, which is a loss of down. The penalty moved MSU (4-4, 1-3 Southeastern Conference) out of field goal range and forced it to use another timeout.
"My fault for the play call after the 14-yard run, and I probably should've been more conservative and not tried to take a shot near the end zone," Mullen said.
MSU needed to burn its final timeout before the next play due to what Mullen said was "lining up in a incorrect formation" out of the previous timeout.
"It was bad management (of time) and I'll throw that on myself, too," Prescott said. "It will be something we learn from because we have to get that fixed for future games."
Prescott's pass over the middle to Robert Johnson ended the half after MSU couldn't decide whether to run the field goal unit on the field or to spike the ball on third down.
"It just kills you," Mullen said. "It just kills you not to get points there."
Sobiesk hits 38-yard field goal; Bell solid in punt game
After seven games, MSU switched placekicker Saturday, as a redshirt freshman walk-on Evan Sobiesk connected on a 38-yard field goal in the second quarter.
It was MSU's first made field goal since Devon Bell hit a 22-yarder against LSU on Oct. 5. Bell is 5 of 11 field goals this season. Mullen said he made the change based on practice report notes between Sobiesk and Bell.
"(Sobiesk) won the field-goal battle in practice," Mullen said. "We chart it every week, and Sobiesk was better in practice so he won the job."
Mullen said practice reports still would determine who wins the job on a weekly basis.
Russell doesn't play despite being medically cleared to play
Mullen said senior quarterback Tyler Russell was medically cleared to play after suffering a severe ankle injury last week against Kentucky.
Russell was considered an emergency option for sophomore Dak Prescott, who took every snap against South Carolina after Russell missed practice all week.
"It was one of those deals that if he didn't have to play, he wasn't going to," Mullen said of Russell. "If we'd have had to get him in the game, he would've missed two to three days of practice this coming week again."
Saturday marked the fourth game this season Russell has missed due to injury. He missed three games in early September with a concussion. Prescott was 28 of 43 for 235 yards and a career-high four turnovers.
DT Evans doesn't travel with team
Sophomore defensive tackle Quay Evans didn't travel with the team this weekend.
Evans was arrested and charged Wednesday with driving without a license and a violation of a traffic control device, but he was released from jail that evening. Public records in the Oktibbeha County Sheriff's office found by The Dispatch revealed he was cited for driving without a license and a seat belt violation this past summer. Evans was charged and fined $426 on Aug. 8.
Mullen said throughout the week that Evans' situation would be "handled internally."
"He ran a stop sign," Mullen said after the game Saturday. "Has anybody in this room ever run a stop sign? Has anybody in this room ever gotten a traffic ticket? He got a traffic ticket. That's it."
Evans was suspended for Thursday night's game against Kentucky for what the program called a violation of team rules prior to his arrest. Mullen said after the 28-22 victory against Kentucky that the former five-star recruit would be re-evaluated in the following weeks. However, Mullen didn't say if Evans would be in the lineup Saturday.
Follow Matt Stevens on Twitter @matthewcstevens.
1. Columbus ready for annual Joe Horne Christmas Classic HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
2. MSU records highest GPA in fall semester COLLEGE SPORTS
5. MSU officially announces hiring of Hudspeth COLLEGE SPORTS