Bulldogs come to life behind Tyler Russell

The first half Saturday might have been as poorly as Mississippi State has played under Dan Mullen.

Sensing that his team needed a spark, Mullen went with sophomore quarterback Tyler Russell in the second half, and he jump-started a sluggish offense in a 21-3 win over UAB.

Russell was 11-of-13 for 166 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions after taking over for Chris Relf. The Bulldogs had trailed 3-0 at the half and looked listless. They responded under Russell, who threw touchdown passes of 57 yards to Chad Bumphis, 20 yards to Malcolm Johnson and 18 yards to Marcus Green.

Mississippi State (3-3, 0-3) now turns its attention back to SEC play and has South Carolina coming to town next week.

The big question: Does Mullen stick with Russell, or does he go back to Relf? Mullen said after the game that he would make that decision after evaluating practice next week and that Relf didn't play that poorly in the first half.

That may be, but Russell was the guy who ignited the Mississippi State offense Saturday, and it's an offense that hasn't scored a touchdown in its last two SEC games. It's probably time that Russell gets his shot to start a game and show what he can do against an SEC defense.