No. 15 MISSISSIPPI STATE 45, MIDDLE TENNESSEE 3
STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) _ Tyler Russell threw for 191 yards and three touchdowns, Johnthan Banks tied a school record with his 16th career interception and Mississippi State pulled away in the second half.
Mississippi State (7-0) led just 10-3 at halftime, but scored three touchdowns in the third quarter to open a comfortable lead in the non-conference game. It was the ninth straight win for the Bulldogs, dating to last season.
LaDarius Perkins shook Mississippi State’s offense out of an extended drought midway through the third quarter, bursting through the middle of the line for a 64-yard touchdown to put the Bulldogs ahead 17-3. He finished with 125 yards rushing on 20 carries.
Mississippi State’s Chris Smith caught a career-high seven passes for 66 yards and two touchdowns.
Middle Tennessee (4-3) was led by Jordan Parker’s 66 yards rushing.
The victory sets up Mississippi State’s undefeated conference showdown at No. 1 Alabama next weekend.
No. 16 LOUISVILLE 27, SOUTH FLORIDA 25
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) _ Louisville’s perfect start appeared to be over before Teddy Bridgewater came up with one more big play.
Bridgewater threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Eli Rogers with 1:35 left, and the 16th-ranked Cardinals were off to their best opening to a season since 2006.
Louisville (7-0, 2-0 Big East) rallied after yielding 15 straight points to South Florida and a season-high 197 yards rushing.
B.J. Daniels threw three TD passes in the second half, the last one putting South Florida ahead 25-21 with 3:09 left. The Bulls had one last chance for the win, but Adrian Bushell intercepted Daniels’ last-gasp throw as time ran out, well short of the end zone.
South Florida (2-5, 0-3) has dropped five straight games. It has just one win in its last 12 conference games dating to last season.