This game was of the Dave Neal 11:21 variety. It was a bright, sunny day in Starkville. MSU in all maroon trying to break a 3-game losing streak. The midfield logo was different for this one - the bulldog standing over MState. The #HailState endzone was replaced by 'Nick Bell 36' to honor him on what would have been his Senior Day.
State got the ball first. This drive was all Perkins and Bumphis, but mostly Perk. A pass to Bump got the initial first down, a few runs by Perkins picked up another one, and then a 17 yard catch by Bump. From there on it was all LaDarius as he ran for first downs and eventually caught a 13 yard TD in the corner of the endzone. 7-0 State.
Once Arkansas got the ball Tyler Wilson immediately started moving the ball down the field. He ended the drive quickly with a 30 TD pass to Cobi Hamilton over the middle of the field. 7-7.
MSU wasn't able to get anything going on the second drive, as Arkansas snuffed them out on a Perkins run and sacked Russell to force a punt.
End of 1st quarter: MSU 7, UPig, 7
The Razorbacks kept moving the ball on their next drive, hitting Hamilton frequently. Chris Wilson didn't have much of an answer on these first two drives, Wilson was picking the defense apart. He hit Dennis Johnson on an underneath route for a 7 yard TD. Wilson was 11 of 12 on the first two drives. 14-7 ARK.
The ensuing drive for MSU did not going anywhere, 3 and out. At this point we all began to wonder if the game was going to get away from the Dawgs. Fortunately, Baker Swedenberg's punt was muffed by the Hogs' return man and State recovered....and we got an extra 15 yards on a personal foul call. 1st & 10 on the ARK 28.
The offense wasn't really able to get much out of the drive as it was basically a 3 and out but since they were in field goal range Devon Bell was able to hit a 39 yarder. 14-10 ARK.
When Arkansas got the ball back they got away from the passing game that was carving MSU up. On 2nd and 3 they got two yards, then on 3rd & 1 Josh Boyd made a great play to beat his block and stuff Knile Davis short of the first down. Punt.
Perkins immediately started the next drive with a big gainer to move the chains, and on the next play Malcolm Johnson caught a 27 yard pass. A Robert Johnson reception got it in the red zone, and Chad Bumphis completed the drive with a touchdown catch. 17-14 State.
The ARK offense began to get out of sink, going backwards with penalties and unable to move the ball at all. 3 and out.
With complete momentum, State got the ball back with a couple of minutes left and they began to move the ball pretty well. On a 2nd & 10 from the ARK 31 Russell hit Arceto Clark for a first down, but he lost the football as he was being tackled. It was very close as to whether Arceto's elbow hit the ground before the ball came out or not, ultimately the call was upheld.
Denico Autry recorded a sack and after that the Hogs just ran the clock out.
Halftime: MSU 17, ARK 14
Arkansas came back out looking to re-establish the passing game. After one incompletion, he was able to throw for a 1st down on a 15 yard gainer. On the next play he went in the direction of Cobi Hamilton, but Jamerson Love stepped in front of the pass and picked it off. Bulldog ball.
When MSU got on offense, they were faced with a 3rd & 9. Les Koenning actually called for a screen, but there wasn't much blocking to speak of and Perkins only picked up 4 yards, so it was 3 plays and a punt.
The Razorbacks got it back and on 2nd & 10 from the 10 yard line, Dennis Johnson decided to run backwards and was caught for a 9 yard loss. He made up for it a little on 3rd down with a 12 yard pick up, but another 3 and out.
Russell hit Arceto Clark for a 23 yard gain to kick off the next drive. The Dawgs drove on down the field and when they got inside the 10 Dak Prescott took over. Mullen gambled a bit by going for it on 4th & 1 from the 4 yard line, and Prescott QB sneaked it all the way into the endzone. 24-14 State.
The ensuing kickoff featured a lame duck off the end of Devon Bell's foot which ended up out of bounds. The Hogs got a few first downs of their own through the run and pass and decided to go for their own fourth down, except this was a 4th & 8 from the MSU 38. Tyler Wilson dropped back to pass but it was good coverage from the secondary so he had to scramble and came up a couple feet short.
Despite the good defensive stop, the offense did nothing...another 3 and out, that makes about a hundred this year.
On the first play of UPig's next drive, Johnathan Williams took the handoff and inexplicably lost control of the football, fumbling and State recovered.
Russell went to the air this time and hit Clark for a first down to start the drive. Then Perkins caught at 24 TD pass on a wheel route - perfect throw by Russell. 31-14 State.
Arkansas decided to be even more sloppy with the football and fumbled again.
End of 3rd quarter: MSU 31, ARK 14
The Bulldogs capitalized on the turnover again when Russell threw another touchdown pass to Bumphis, this time a 22 yard pass. 38-14 State.
Arkansas moving the ball again, but they can't hang onto the ball. This time Darius Slay gets an easy pick when Cobi Hamilton gives up on the route. That gave Slay his 5th interception, the most on the team, which held up through the end of the year.
On the next play MSU runs the option, Russell was covered (as always) but they forgot about Nick Griffin and he glided 60 yards for a beautiful touchdown run...untouched. 45-14 State.
Preston Smith closed quickly for a nice sack and loss of 9 yards. Arkansas punts.
With the game no longer in doubt, Dak Prescott took over with 8 minutes left. Josh Robinson with a big gainer and a few carries on the drive. The Dawgs were able to milk the clock very well with some Prescott runs as well and eventually turned it over on downs at the ARK 17 with :35 left.
FINAL: MSU 45, ARK 14
This was a good win for State. It ended the 3-game losing streak and anytime we can beat Arkansas it is a good thing - no matter how down they are.