Mississippi State routs Tennessee-Martin 55-17
STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) 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.
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.
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.
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.
Updated November 5, 2011