Concussion keeps Mississippi State QB Tyler Russell sidelined

Dave Martin / Associated Press
Mississippi State was without ailing QB Tyler Russell on Saturday for the second straight game.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said Monday that he expected senior quarterback Tyler Russell, an NFL draft hopeful with size and impressive arm strength, to play against Auburn after missing last week's game against Alcorn State with a concussion.

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It didn't happen.

Dak Prescott made his second consecutive start for the Bulldogs, leaving MSU fans to wonder if the concussion that knocked Russell out of a season opener against Oklahoma State is worse than first thought. Prescott performed well in Russell's place, throwing for 213 yards and rushing for a game-high 133 yards and two touchdowns. It's wasn't enough, though, in a 24-20 loss.

Russell's footwork and ability to read defenses are the primary questions about his NFL future, despite passing for nearly 3,000 yards last season with a 24:10 TD-INT ratio. Health concerns would be a difficult thing to add to the list for a quarterback already not projected among the elite prospects at his position.

MSU takes on Troy next week in a game the Bulldogs could probably win with Prescott at the helm again, which would potentially give Russell two more weeks off the field to recover. MSU is idle the week after playing Troy, then plays host to LSU.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.