If you decided to turn off football Saturday night after the New Orleans Saints lost to the Seattle Seahawks, you missed the Magnolia State on full display. The New England Patriots scored 43 points in their win over the Indianapolis Colts.
The reason that 43 points is so interesting is because every point scored by the Patriots was by a player who spent some of their football-playing career in Mississippi. Three New England players did all of the Patriots' scoring, and they could've scored more if former Ole Miss running back Brandon Bolden had been able to take to the field.
LeGarrette Blount, Stevan Ridley and Stephen Gostkowski were the three players who scored all 43 points for New England. In fact, the Patriots got so much scoring from this bunch that starting quarterback Tom Brady didn't even need to throw a touchdown pass for the win.
Blount might best be known for punching Boise State player Byron Hout when Blount was an (University of) Oregon Duck. Before traveling to Eugene, Blount, a Florida native, spent two years at East Mississippi Community College, where he became the top junior college running back in the country at the end of his two seasons in Scooba, Miss.
Blount ran for 166 yards on 24 carries and four touchdowns. He also had two kick returns for 37 yards.
Blount tied the Patriots' playoff record with 166 rushing yards and became the second player in NFL history to score four rushing touchdowns in a playoff game. He was close to tying the record for most rushing behind former San Francisco 49er Ricky Watters, who scored five rushing touchdowns against the New York Giants on January 15, 1994.
Ridley spent his high school career at Trinity Episcopal Day School in Natchez, Miss., before moving on to begin his college career at Louisiana State University. Ridley added 52 yards on 14 carries and added two more rushing touchdowns for the Patriots. He also completed a two-point conversion after scoring one of his two touchdowns.
Blount and Ridley scored six combined rushing touchdowns, which tied the record for second most rushing touchdowns scored in a playoff game. The San Francisco 49ers also had six rushing in their 44-3 win over the New York Giants on Jan. 15, 1994.
Gostkowski was a star at Madison Central High School before starting his college career at the University of Memphis. He was perfect on five extra points in the game and also took over the punting duties after the Patriots' regular punter, Ryan Allen, sustained an injury after a punt went over his head. Gostkowski punted five times and averaged 41.8 yards per punt. It wasn't just players with Mississippi ties on the offensive side of the ball making for New England. The defensive side of the Patriots roster also enjoyed a major game from a player who hails from the Magnolia State.
Rookie Jamie Collins was the first player the New England Patriots selected in the 2013 NFL Draft in the second round with the 52nd overall pick. Collins played high school football at Franklin County High School in Meadville, Miss., and went on to play for the University of Southern Mississippi in college.
Earlier in the day, the Patriots put linebacker Brandon Spikes on injured reserve, which led to Collins having a coming out party against the Colts. Collins made an impact in nearly every play he was in.
Collins finished the game with six total tackles, two tackles for a loss, one pass defended, and one sack and interception in which he returned 20 yards. He also added three quarterback hits.