September 1, 2018 10:39:46 PM
STARKVILLE -- The first play of the Joe Moorhead era was a screen pass from Keytaon Thompson to Kylin Hill.
The play was intended to set up another one, but the former Columbus High School standout took the pass for a 53-yard touchdown.
The scoring never stopped.
The No. 18 Mississippi State football team racked up 400 yards in the first half and scored five touchdowns en route to a 63-6 victory against Stephen F. Austin in the season opener for both teams at Davis Wade Stadium.
Thompson, who started for Nick Fitzgerald (suspended for a violation of team rules), completed passes to nine receivers in the first half. He found wide receiver Osirus Mitchell for an 84-yard strike -- on the first play of a possession -- then used a shoestring grab from wide receiver Austin Williams to keep a drive alive for a 27-yard scrambling throw to running back Aeris Williams for a third score.
Tight end Dontea Jones joined the scoring party with a leaping, one-handed catch near the end of the second quarter.
Stephen F. Austin never made a concerted run after MSU's first-half surge thanks to a defense that had 17 tackles for a loss.
Hill had nine carries for 50 yards. The 53-yard touchdown was his only catch. Mitchell led all receivers with two catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns.
Thompson was 13-for-31 for 364 yards and five touchdowns. His two rushing touchdowns helped him tie a MSU and Southeastern Conference record for seven touchdowns responsible for in a game. He ran 10 times for 109 yards.
Follow Dispatch sports writer Brett Hudson on Twitter @Brett_Hudson
1. McCowan answers call after Bibby forced to leave COLLEGE SPORTS
2. MSU uses more zone to slow down South Carolina COLLEGE SPORTS
3. No. 7 MSU's toughness wins out vs. No. 15 South Carolina COLLEGE SPORTS