COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott didn't start on Saturday against No. 11 Texas A&M after losing his mother to cancer on Sunday.
Prescott took over in the first quarter and turned in a solid performance, but it wasn't enough to overcome Johnny Manziel and the Aggies in a 51-41 loss.
"Obviously to go through what he had to go through and come out and perform, I'm just proud of him," Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said, his voice cracking. "He's an amazing young man beyond being a football player, a man that most parents would be proud if their kids grew up that way."
Prescott threw for 149 yards and two scores and ran for 154 yards for Mississippi State (4-5, 1-4 SEC).
Tyler Russell started the game in place of Prescott, who missed practice this week after his mother died. Prescott entered the game on Mississippi State's third drive and got the majority of the snaps after that.
Prescott's twitter profile had three pictures of him and his mother, the biggest one featuring him kissing her bald head as she smiled broadly. Before the game he tweeted: "I Live for you, I Play for you #MOM."
"He's got to walk out of the locker room tonight and his mom's not going to be there," Mullen said. "These kids are like sons to me. When they have to go through something that bad it wears on you. I never want to see our kids go through the personal losses like that."
Manziel threw for 446 yards and tied a career-high with five touchdown passes to lead the Aggies in what could be the Heisman Trophy winner's last home game.
The crowd chanted "one more year" late in the game for Manziel, who is eligible for the draft after this season. Whether he comes back remains to be seen, but he went into the stands to celebrate with the student section when the game was over.
Mississippi State cut the lead to 10 points early in the fourth quarter, but Manziel threw his fifth touchdown pass to make it 44-27 for A&M (8-2, 4-2). The defense grabbed an interception and Ben Malena's 2-yard TD run extended the lead to 51-27.
Manziel set a school career record for total yards with 9,040 and a single-season record with 31 touchdown passes. He became just the second A&M quarterback to run for 2,000 yards in a career and has 3,313 yards passing this year to become the first Aggie with two 3,000-yard passing seasons.
The Bulldogs got within 10 points again after a touchdown throw by Russell with 2:19 remaining. But the onside kick was recovered by A&M.
Trey Williams returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown. But it was negated by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after he flipped into the end zone. The Aggies got the ball at the 18 and Manziel threw his fifth touchdown pass three plays later.
The Bulldogs cut the lead to 10 points late in the third quarter on a touchdown pass by Prescott. But A&M made it 37-20 two plays later on a 15-yard run by Williams. That scored was set up by a 75-yard reception by Evans.
Manziel was intercepted three times, twice by Jamerson Love. The turnovers helped keep Mississippi State in the game, but the Bulldogs couldn't keep up with the Aggies.
"(Manziel) can make big things happen with his feet by making the plays longer," Mississippi State linebacker Matt Wells said. "We are going to have to find a way to close games. This takes a little bit out of us, but we just have to keep fighting."
Manziel evaded the rush and connected with Kennedy for a 21-yard touchdown to extend Texas A&M's lead to 30-14 in the third quarter. His third interception came on the next drive when Nickoe Whitley picked him off inside the 5 yard line.
Manziel threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Kennedy to give A&M a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
Prescott entered the game for the first time on Mississippi State's next drive and Josh Robinson ran 51 yards for a touchdown on the first play to tie it at 7-7.
Texas A&M's 12th man Sam Moeller blocked the punt and it rolled out of the end zone for a safety to put A&M up 9-7.
Manziel's threw a 33-yard touchdown to Labhart extend A&M's lead to 16-7 late in the first quarter.
Prescott's 3-yard jump pass to 6-foot-5 De'Runnya Wilson for a touchdown got Mississippi State within 16-14 about a minute before halftime.
Manziel hit Labhart for an 11-yard score on the next play to leave A&M up 23-14 at the break.
"Us giving up those point right before halftime was a huge momentum killer," Mullen said.