Mississippi State took over as the No. 1 team in the AP Poll for the first time in school history after blowing out Auburn on Saturday, and have taken the college football world by storm. The biggest reason for the Bulldogs' surge is the emergence of their quarterback Dak Prescott, who has also taken over as the Heisman favorite.
Playing in Mississippi, the casual college football fan had no reason to know who Prescott was until recently, so here's your crash course.
The quarterback grew up in Louisiana, rooting for LSU - although the Tigers didn't start recruiting him until late in his senior season. Prescott was only a three-star recruit after his junior year, and Mississippi State was the only major-level school to offer him a scholarship that summer.
He committed to head coach Dan Mullen and the Bulldogs, but after a standout senior season, LSU and Les Miles came calling to try and get Prescott to de-commit. He took an official visit to Death Valley, but he followed his mother's advice: "If you're going to commit, you're committed. Bottom line."
That came as no surprise - Prescott is a self-proclaimed mama's boy. Unfortunately, tragedy struck after he stepped on campus in Starkville. His mother, Peggy, had colon cancer, and took a sharp turn or the worse during the fall of 2013. On November 2nd, the day after Mississippi State lost to South Carolina 34-16 due to Prescott's four turnovers, he got a call into the football office where Mullen and the coaching staff told him his mom had died.
After going home for the funeral, Prescott immersed himself in football, saying his teammates and coaches helped lift him up during the difficult time. All is work has paid off this year, where he's used his improved passing and physical running style to be the catalyst behind the Bulldogs' breakout season.
You'll probably become annoyed with the Tim Tebow references that announcers love to beat to death, but Prescott is the real deal on the field. He's thrown for 1,478 yards, 14 touchdowns, and only four interceptions so far this year playing against top competition in the SEC West, while rushing for 576 yards and adding eight more touchdowns on the ground.
Taking this middling program to the top of college football has propelled Prescott to cult hero status, and the Heisman race is his to lose at this point. He won't be on the field this weekend as the Bulldogs have a bye week before facing Kentucky, but their next big game comes November 15 at Alabama.
If Prescott can lead the Bulldogs to a win in Tuscaloosa, we might as well just hand the Heisman to him after the game.Back to the NCAA Newsfeed