Redshirt sophomore quarterback Chris Nickson completed 9 of 20 pass attempts for 162 yards and two touchdowns. Junior tailback Cassen Jackson-Garrison led the 'Dores on the ground with 142 yards and two touchdowns, followed by redshirt freshman tailback Jared Hawkins, who made the most of his three carries scoring his second and third touchdowns of the season. Redshirt senior fullback Steven Bright also caught the first two receiving touchdowns of his career.
'Dore fans got their first look at junior transfer quarterback Richard Kovalcheck, who entered the game early in the fourth quarter with the score 43-14. Kovalcheck completed two of three pass attempts for seven yards. Freshman tailback Gaston Miller also made his debut tonight, averaging 7.3 yards on eight carries. Redshirt freshman Mackenzi Adams also saw time as quarterback.
It was a hot-and-cold night for sophomore placekicker Bryant Hahnfeldt, who kicked a career-long 51-yard field goal but missed two extra points due to bad snaps.
Redshirt senior safety Ben Koger made his career first interception near the end of the first quarter. However, he suffered a fractured tibia (shin) on the play. Freshman safety Brent Trice also logged an interception.
Defensively, the 'Dores were led by true freshman linebacker Patrick Benoist, who had 8 tackles. Theo Horrocks (junior), Marcus Buggs (redshirt junior), Curtis Gatewood (redshirt junior), and Broderick Stewart (redshirt freshman) each contributed quarterback sacks. Jonathan Goff had seven tackles and two quarterback hurries. Redshirt freshman Brandon Bryant made seven stops as well. Horrocks was also credited with forced a fumble that Gatewood recovered.
The Commodores were flagged nine times throughout the game for a season-high total of 89 yards.
Tonight's attendance was 34,319. The Commodores travel to Oxford, Miss., to face the Ole Miss Rebels next Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. CT.
Bobby Johnson Post game comments
"We were very pleased to win. I saw some good things. Sometimes we went a little haywire and allowed some things we shouldn't have. But I was glad we recovered from the play at the end of the first half."
"We got to play a lot of people. We had some guys on defense that had never played before. There's a big difference from being on the practice field and in the game. You don't have anyone out there telling you where to go and what to do. They have to decide on their own. It's a learning experience."
"It turned out that we were very successful in running it and probably could have run more. But we really needed to work on all parts of our offense."
"I told our team in the locker room after the game that we have to improve to go on the road at Ole Miss to have the chance to win, and that's not just Chris [Nickson]. We have to improve all parts of our offense."
"I'm one of Steven Bright's biggest fans. He does a great job. When he gets the ball in his hands he can run. He's very mobile and we ask him to do some pretty athletic things."
"We've got a little confidence from our wins and we're ready to get back on the road and back to the SEC."