NASHVILLE — Will Rogers had a career day at quarterback for Mississippi State, but his coach Mike Leach was not overly satisfied.
Rogers threw a career-best four touchdowns, two to wide receiver Makai Polk, and Mississippi State was never challenged in a 45-6 Southeastern Conference win over Vanderbilt Saturday afternoon.
Rogers, the SEC leader in passing yards with 360.3 yards, threw for 386 against the Commodores, completing 41 of 57 attempts. It was the fifth time he has thrown three or more touchdown passes in a game this season and the seventh time in his career.
“I thought Will was good overall,” Leach said. “Obviously, he had some sloppy play in the mix.
“What he did best was maintain his composure. He was ready for the next play or next series after something went wrong. I think that rubbed off on the offensive unit and our team to a degree,” Leach said.
The Bulldogs (4-3, 2-2) were coming off a 49-9 loss to No. 4 Alabama. Mississippi State has won their last five meetings with Vanderbilt after a loss in 2004. It was the 17th straight SEC loss for the Commodores (2-6, 0-4).
Few things went wrong for the Bulldogs on offense or defense, but Leach was particularly pleased with the way his team handled turnover and penalty situations.
“I thought we did a lot better job of fighting through adversity,” Leach said. “We did some really good stuff. If we stubbed our toe or made a mistake we did a good job of battling through that. The guys stayed locked into their jobs better rather than sitting and dwelling on something that didn’t work out our way. We have been fighting that for awhile.”
Vanderbilt settled for a pair of field goals with Joseph Bulovas hitting from 27 yards in the second quarter and from 41 in the third quarter.
“We are disappointed,” Vanderbilt coach Clark Lea said. “We have things we have to work on across the board. We are going to get back to work.”
• No. 17 Texas A&M 44, South Carolina 14: Zach Calzada threw for two touchdowns, Devon Achane and Isaiah Spiller each ran for over 100 yards and a score and Texas A&M (6-2, 3-2 SEC) held the Gamecocks (4-4, 1-4) to 185 yards of total offense.
• Arkansas 45, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 3: K.J. Jefferson threw for a career-high four touchdowns, all coming before halftime, as Arkansas (5-3) scored the first 45 points.
• Rice 30, UAB 24: Wiley Green completed 17 of 22 passes for 205 yards and three scores to propel Rice (3-4, 2-1 Conference USA), which was a 24-point underdog, to an upset of the Blazers (5-3, 3-1). Dylan Hopkins passed for 318 yards for UAB.
• Sam Houston State 42, Jacksonville State 7: Ramon Jefferson rushed for 110 yards and two touchdowns to help the top-ranked Bearkats extend the nation's best winning streak to 17 games. Zerrick Cooper had a rushing touchdown for JSU (3-4, 1-1).
• Chattanooga 55, Samford 13: Cole Copeland passed for 261 yards and two touchdowns and added two rushing scores for the Mocs (4-3, 3-1 Southern). Liam Welch had 131 passing yards for Samford (3-4, 2-3), which added only 69 rushing yards.
• Louisiana-Monroe 41, South Alabama 31: Chandler Rogers threw for 369 yards and four touchdowns for ULM (4-3, 2-2 Sun Belt). Jake Bentley completed 30 of his 41 passes for 320 yards and four scores for South Alabama (4-3, 1-3).