FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. • Mississippi State coach Joe Moorhead turned 46 years old on Saturday and could not have received a much better gift than his Bulldogs delivered.
MSU established school single-game SEC records with 460 rushing yards and 640 total yards in its 54-24 victory over Arkansas, which also ended a four-game skid for the Bulldogs.
“I challenged them to win the line of scrimmage and be physical on both sides of the ball and we did that and to also win the turnover battle, which we did as well,” Moorhead said. “I’m very excited for the kids and very excited for the program. It was a great team win today.”
State running back Kylin Hill has enjoyed some huge games on the ground throughout his career, but none so more than on Saturday. Hill ran for a personal-best 234 yards and three touchdowns on 21 attempts, averaging a whopping 11.1 yards per rush. He had 198 yards and all three scores at halftime.
“Basically, I was just getting back to what I do best and running with power, being very elusive and not over-thinking,” Hill said. “I was just seeing a hole and hitting it hard.”
Hill wasn’t the only Bulldog back with a career day. Nick Gibson ran 12 times for 129 yards and one touchdown.
Quarterback Tommy Stevens was reintroduced into the starting lineup for State after Garrett Shrader experienced “general health issues throughout the week” according to Moorhead. It was Stevens’ first start since Oct. 12 against Tennessee.
“On Thursday I decided for the kids, the offense and for the team that it was in our best interest to start Tommy for this week,” Moorhead said.
Stevens answered the call by completing 12 of 18 passes for 172 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also added 74 yards on 15 carries and was not sacked on the day.
“I was hopeful that I’d get another opportunity to show what I could do,” Stevens said. “I’d been dealing with some health things the past couple of weeks , so it was probably the best thing for my body and the best thing for the team. I was happy to have my opportunity this week and overall it was a great team win.”
A total of 10 different players caught passes for Mississippi State (4-5, 2-4 SEC), led by Deddrick Thomas’ two catches for 59 yards. Osirus Mitchell hauled in a 33-yard touchdown and Farrod Green grabbed a 3-yard TD as well.
The Bulldogs’ offense produced points on its first three drives and led 17-0 three plays into the second quarter. MSU managed to extend that advantage to 38-10 at halftime thanks in part to 32-yard, pick-6 by West Point native Marcus Murphy.
It was the 17th-straight league loss for Arkansas, which fell to 2-7 overall and 0-6 in SEC play. The Razorbacks did not complete a pass in the first quarter and finished with just 285 total yards.
Rakeem Boyd ran for 114 yards on 11 carries, 52 of which came on a touchdown run early in the second quarter.