HOOVER, AL (WAFB) - With LSU down 34-16 to Mississippi State and just 3:43 left in the fourth quarter, true freshman quarterback Brandon Harris entered the game and started winging the football all over the field, bringing the Tigers within five points and leaving vivid memories of the performance in the minds of the Bulldogs.
Tiger Stadium was practically empty and the game was all but over. That's when things suddenly got interesting. Harris passed for 140 yards and two touchdowns during his brief stretch in the game and even had a chance to win it on the contest's final play. His heave was intercepted at the goal line, however, as the Bulldogs hung on for the 34-29 triumph.
"He opened things up," Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen recalled. "He was throwing it up and kids were going up to make plays. And a lot of times, that will give guys confidence. He was able to do that and lead a late, furious comeback in the end. It got a little scary for me in the final seconds of the game. He did a great job and brought a different spark to them when he came on the field."
The Bulldogs quarterback, on the other hand, ripped the LSU defense from the start that night. Dak Prescott, a native of Haughton, Louisiana, passed for 268 yards and rushed for 105 more, while accounting for three touchdowns. Prescott said he was already familiar with Harris before last season's game and still has contact with the former Parkway High School standout.
"He went to my rival high school," Prescott said. "I was a senior when he was a freshman. I met him at some seven-on-seven camps. He sent me a Facebook message, 'What do I need to get better? I want to be where you're at.' He impressed me, by getting to LSU, first off. Not many people from our area have been able to do so, especially at the quarterback position. For him, doing what he could to get there, putting in the work and by coming in late and scaring us a little bit. He spins the football very well. He'll shoot me a text here and there."
Prescott is viewed by many as the top returning player in the SEC this year. Last season, he passed for 3,449 yards and 27 touchdowns, while rushing for an additional 986 yards and 14 more scores. Harris, on the other hand, was basically benched the entire year following his only start of the season, a disastrous 41-7 loss at Auburn. Many LSU fans felt he deserved more opportunities.
Harris currently has the starting spot to himself, as incumbent Anthony Jennings is indefinitely suspended following an off the field incident.