Vick Ballard runs for 102 yards as Mississippi State mauls Tennessee-Martin

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Vick Ballard rushed for 102 yards and two touchdowns to lead Mississippi State to a 55-17 victory over Tennessee-Martin on Saturday night.

The Bulldogs (5-4), who never trailed, posted 570 yards of total offense in the game and averaged 8.3 yards per play.

Tennessee-Martin (5-4) racked up 454 yards offense, but struggled on third down against Mississippi State's stiff scoring defense.

Ballard rushed only 11 times and averaged 9.2 yards a carry. The game was Ballard's fourth 100-yard outing of the season, and his first multi-touchdown performance since the Bulldogs' season opener against Memphis.

Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen again used both starter Tyler Russell and senior Chris Relf at quarterback, and both had success.

Russell completed 9 of 18 passes for 183 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Relf finished 5 of 6 for 61 yards and threw two touchdowns.

Arceto Clark caught 5 passes for 96 yards and a career-high two touchdowns, while Chad Bumphis caught four passes for 89 yards and a touchdown.

The Skyhawks opened the game with a deep drive into Bulldogs territory, but kicker Cody Sandlin missed a 33-yard field goal attempt.

Then Mississippi State marched 80 yards in 13 plays and Ballard scampered in for a 5-yard touchdown, the Bulldogs' first on an opening drive this season, and from there it was all Mississippi State.

Jonathan Banks returned a Tennessee-Martin punt 65 yards for a touchdown on the next possession. Then Russell threw a 78-yard strike to Bumphis to end the first quarter.

Relf hit Clark for a 27-yard score with 4:11 remaining in the first half, and Mississippi State led 28-3 at the break.

In the second half, Ballard broke a 54-yard run for a touchdown early in the third quarter, and Nick Griffin and Dylan Favre both added rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

Running back Kenny Jones scored both Skyhawks touchdowns, one rushing and one receiving.

Mississippi native Justin McNair had a game-high 122 yards rushing on 27 carries for Tennessee-Martin, and quarterback Derek Carr completed 19 of 31 passes for 167 yards and one score.


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