By PAUL JONES
Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald set a school record for rushing yards by a quarterback and the Bulldogs defeated South Carolina 27-14 Saturday at Davis Wade Stadium.
Fitzgerald rushed 17 times for 195 yards and also passed for 178 yards and two touchdowns.
South Carolina was outgained 485-243 in total offense. The Gamecocks did register a pair of second half touchdown passes from freshman quarterback Brandon McIllwain, who started the second half after not playing in the first.
Fitzgerald's rushing total broke a 36-year-old school record. His 195 yards easily passed former Mississippi State quarterback John Bond's previous record of 163 rushing yards in 1980 against Ole Miss.
Mississippi State rolled to a 24-0 lead at halftime thanks to a pair of touchdown passes by Fitzgerald. Receiver Fred Ross had a touchdown catch and a touchdown pass in the first half.
The Bulldogs outgained South Carolina 324-90 in total yards in the first half. A lightning delay forced both teams to stay inside the locker room for an extra 32 minutes at halftime.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks only had 90 yards of total offense in the first half with Perry Orth at quarterback. Orth was 9-of-17 for just 83 yards with one interception.
Mississippi State: In his second career start, Nick Fitzgerald had career highs in rushing yards, passing touchdowns, passing yards, pass attempts and pass completions.
South Carolina: After opening the season with two straight road games, South Carolina hosts East Carolina next Saturday in the home opener.
Mississippi State: Mississippi State goes on the road for the first time this season next Saturday with a trip to LSU.
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