Belk Bowl grades: Dak Prescott finishes college career on high note
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Mississippi State Bulldogs 51-28 victory over the North Carolina State Wolfpack, in the Belk Bowl.
Mississippi State Bulldogs
– Senior quarterback Dak Prescott (+2.9) played well in his final game as a Bulldog. He was very effective as passer, completing 26 of 44 passes for 378 yards, four touchdown, one interception and a +5.5 passing grade. He made throws to all part of the field and showed good deep accuracy by completing four of six passes thrown 20+ yards downfield. His negative run grade (-2.7) pulled down his overall grade but this was a great walk-off performance for Prescott. With victory in hand, Prescott was pulled from the game with one play remaining as a fitting curtain call to one of the great careers in Mississippi State Bulldogs’ history. He walked off the field to the clanging of many appreciative cowbells.
– Wide receiver De’Runnya Wilson was Prescott’s favorite target in the Belk Bowl. Wilson was targeted 10 times, catching five of them for 96 yards and 1 touchdown. He was targeted six times in the short area between 0-9 yards, catching three of them. He was also frequently targeted either in the middle of the field or to the offense’s left-side. One of his catches was a 39-yarder to the deep left part of the field.
– Mississippi State’s highest-graded defensive player was Defensive Tackle Chris Jones (+4.9). He was a very effective run defender as he was credited with five run stops and a +2.1 run defense grade. Jones was even more effective as a pass rusher as he generated 6 Quarterback pressures on his 22 pass rushes, earning a +2.7 pass rush rating. Strong Safety Kivon Coleman (+2.4) also played well for the Bulldogs. Coleman was solid against the run with 2 run stops and a +1.4 run defense grade.
Chris Jones +4.9
Dak Prescott +2.9
Devon Desper +2.6
Kivon Coman +2.4
Elgton Jenkins +1.8
North Carolina State Wolfpack
– North Carolina State Quarterback Jacoby Brissett (+2.1) didn’t get to leave victorious but he did leave with a positive game grade. Brissett only completed 12 of 29 passes. However, seven of those incompletions were throw aways and two of the incompletions came when Brissett was hit during the throw. Brissett’s completed 12 of 20 “aimed” passes for 218 yards and one touchdown. He also threw two interceptions and only completed three of eight passes thrown at targets farther than 10 yards downfield. While Brissett has some NFL traits this wasn’t the type of game he wanted to show NFL scouts and he will look to have a bounce-back performance on the All-star circuit.
– Left Tackle Joe Thuney (+4.9) capped off his stellar season with another solid performance. Thuney didn’t allow any pressure on Brissett during the Belk Bowl and ended the game with a +2.2 pass blocking grade. He also played well as a run blocker and earned a +2.4 run blocking grade for the game. Thuney only has one negatively graded game for the year and only yielded two sacks all season.
– Defensive End Bradley Chubb (-0.5) ended the game with a slightly negative grade but was visibly the most active of the Wolfpack defenders. He had one QB hit and two QB hurries on his 42 rushes. He dropped into coverage a couple of times. He also added four tackles and two run stops. Chubb has had some very good performances this year and while his grade wasn’t a positive in this game he graded out positively for the season and his level of activity will likely lead to more positively graded games for him next year.
Joe Thuney +4.9
Nyheim Hines +2.3
Josh Jones +2.2
Jacoby Brissett +2.1
Alex Barr +2.1