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franklin county times

Bulldogs roll in Croom's first game

By By Tony Krausz / assistant sports editor
Sept. 5, 2004
STARKVILLE Mississippi State University's defense did the job, while its offense worked out the kinks in a complicated offense on Saturday night.
The Bulldogs' defense held the Tulane Green Wave at bay in the first half, and MSU's offense scored all of its points in the second half of a 28-7 win at Davis Wade Stadium in front of an ESPN2 national television audience.
MSU (1-0) gave up just 87 yards and allowed only eight Tulane (0-1) first downs in the first half. The Green Wave finished with 205 offensive yards and seven of their nine offensive series ended with punts.
The Bulldogs recorded one sack and two interceptions in the win. MSU's Riley Morris notched a game-high 12 tackles, and Corey Clark recorded seven.
The Bulldogs' offense finally found some success in the second half, with a little help from free safety Darren Williams.
Williams snagged Tulane Ricard's pass at the Green Wave's 32-yard line and brought it back to the 13 a minute and a half into the third quarter.
MSU running back Jerious Norwood took the ensuing two handoffs, scoring on his second run from 10 yards out, to give the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead two minutes into the second half.
The Bulldogs forced the Green Wave to go three and out on the next series, and MSU started from its own 46 after a punt.
Sophomore quarterback Omarr Conner, getting his first start under center, finally found some success in his sixth offensive series.
Conner connected on passes of 27 and 15 yards and capped the six-play, 54-yard drive with an 11-yard touchdown toss to Eric Butler for a 14-0 lead with 8:21 left in the third.
Tulane cut MSU's lead to 14-7 two minutes into the fourth quarter with a 59-yard touchdown reception by Chris Bush from Ricard, who completed 16-of-31 passes for 135 yards with two interceptions.
The Bulldogs responded with a six-play, 58-yard march capped by Fred Reid's five-yard touchdown run, which was set up by a 43-yard run by Norwood. MSU's Jared Cook's third point-after kick of the game gave the Bulldogs a 21-7 lead, with 11:23 to play.
MSU sealed its win with 4:38 to play, with Darnell Jones capping a 72-yard drive with an 11-yard scoring run.
Despite Tulane's long touchdown, the night belonged to the Bulldogs' defensive unit.
MSU's defense appeared to score the game's first touchdown with 1:39 left in the second quarter. Bulldogs linebacker Rico Bennett scooped up an apparent fumble on his 30-yard line and raced 70 yards into the Green Wave's end zone.
The fumble return was called back when the play was ruled stopped by an inadvertent whistle signaling an incomplete pass, and Tulane replayed the down from MSU's 35.
The Bulldogs were whistled for roughing the passer on the replay of the third-and-11 play, putting the ball at the 20.
The Green Wave advanced the ball to the six-yard line on the next two plays, but Bulldogs linebacker Clarence McDougal nixed the scoring opportunity with an interception in the end zone.

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