Dak Prescott is the best quarterback in Mississippi State history.
We all thought it, we all saw it and we all expected it. But now we can say it for certain: Dak is the greatest passer to have ever worn the Maroon and White.
He already owned 20 total MSU records before his biggest and most recent one came Saturday, despite only have one season and change as the starting quarterback for the Bulldogs. Prescott’s legacy, while still being shaped, was already known by the middle of his junior season 12 months ago. Last summer, MSU fans voted on the All-Century team for the school, and while their current quarterback wasn’t on the ballot, the thought that he may already be the best anyway was certainly present.
Saturday night, if any debate existed, Prescott ended it.
With nine minutes left in the second half against Northwestern State, Prescott tossed a long, high ball down the left side of the field, finding sophomore receiver Donald Gray for a 45-yard completion. When Gray came down with the catch, Prescott came up with the record.
With 6,367 yards, Dak Prescott became MSU’s all-time leading passer. By the end of the game, that number grew to 6,382 yards. Prescott has thrown the Bulldogs 3.6 miles up and down fields across the country.
“He’s probably a pretty good player,” MSU head coach Dan Mullen joked after the game. “It shows what type of player he is. He’s a special player for us. Holding all of those school records is unbelievable and fantastic.”
For Prescott himself, he said the record will mean far more when his college career is over and he’s able to look back without having to also look ahead at the games on the horizon.
In fact, in the moment, he hardly even knew what was happening.
“I heard ‘And that makes Dak Prescott’ and then the crowd started screaming,” he recalled. “Then I got to the sideline and just heard, ‘Congrats, congrats,’ and I didn’t really know what the exact record was until later.”
The play itself looked like the playground football-catching game ‘500’ where someone throws a ball up in the air and whoever catches it gets the points. Prescott, knowing he had Gray streaking down the field, trusted his receiver and tossed up a pass he knew his guy would catch.
“I ran a big post,” Gray said. “They talked about it all week, how we were going to take shots down the field. So I was pretty much expecting it. When I looked back, I saw his arm go back and I was like, ‘This is your moment.’ I went up for it and I tracked it down when it left his arm and tried to make a play.”
As he tried to make that play, the NSU defender was hanging off his shoulders, eventually called for interference. When the ball came to the pair, far down the left sideline, the cornerback’s hands were on Gray’s shoulder pads. Gray’s hands were on the ball, his fingertips securing the record-setting pass 45 yards away from the record-setting quarterback who had thrown it.
“I really didn’t know until I got up,” Gray said. “Right before the next play, everybody started cheering. I just kind of heard it. I was like, ‘I just caught the pass!’ I was excited … It was just the cheering, and all I heard was ‘Dak Prescott … something, something, something …’ I was just like, ‘Did I catch that?’ I was a part of history. I feel good.”
Said Mullen, “Donald Gray made an unbelievable catch. That was big.”
And with that unbelievable catch, Prescott officially took the throne. Someone one day will pass him the same way he passed Wayne Madkin, the man who held the record up until the second quarter Saturday night. But in this moment and for the foreseeable future, no one stands taller than Dak Prescott. He is, unquestionably, the best that’s ever been in the century of games played on Scott Field.
“He’s a program-changing player,” Mullen said after the record-setting night. “He really is. I say that not just in what he does on the field, but more what he does off the field. Mississippi State, I don’t know how many guys they’ve had like Dak Prescott that bring the fanfare he does. Whether it’s in Dawg Walk, or coming off the field or fans or all of that stuff. I don’t know if we’ve had a lot of those players where we have a player who is a national, household name. That’s really a program-changing deal.”
That’s always been the story on Prescott. The man he is off the field. The Leader, The Giver, The Star and The Son.
“He’s a good person and also our leader,” wide receiver Gabe Myles said of his quarterback. “It’s not like it’s just anybody breaking the record. It’s my teammate and a wonderful person. It just feels even better for him to have that.”
But Saturday is about what happened on the field. It’s about the touchdowns, the yards, the passes and the runs. It’s about wins, it’s about rankings and it’s about pure performances. There are no records awarded for being nice. They are awarded for production, and as it stands now, Prescott has 21 of them.
Myles can tell you why he likes Prescott as a person, teammate and captain. But being a receiver, he can also tell you why he likes Prescott as a quarterback.
“He understands his receivers. He understands our strengths and our weaknesses. He tries to accommodate for them,” Myles explained following a night in which he scored two touchdowns. “He’s gonna make sure he puts it in a place you can catch the ball. I trust Dak whenever he throws the ball.”
With 6,367 yards and counting, Prescott has earned that trust. And he’s got at least 10 games left to build more trust and more records.
“I’m happy for him,” Mullen said.