In what was a very ugly game, Mississippi State pulled out a 24-17 overtime victory over Arkansas, scoring a touchdown on their first play of the overtime on a read option from backup quarterback Damian Williams and using a Taveze Calhoun interception off of Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen on fourth down to end the game.
After falling behind early, Mississippi State battled back from a 10-point deficit to tie it by half time. Tyler Russell got the start, and Dak did not suit up for the game. Russell managed the offense pretty well through out the game, only leaving the ball hanging in the air a few times in the game. Russell finished with two touchdowns and 276 yards through the air. Russell took a shot late in the game and his arm and shoulder locked up, reminiscent of Drew Brees’s last play in a San Diego Chargers uniform.
Josh Robinson became the hero of the offense. Robinson did not play in the first half, but due to an injury to LaDarius Perkins, he got almost every carry in the second half and ended the game with 103 rushing yards. The offense changed when he entered the game, and carried the offense on his shoulders into the overtime.
Nickoe Whitley changed the entire game when he forced a fumble on the goal line. The game was tied in the fourth quarter and the Razorbacks running game was gashing the defense. Whitley had possibly his best game in a Bulldog’s uniform, finishing with 10 tackles, and a possibly game-saving forced fumble and recovery.
After the game Mullen said this on the defense:
"Our defense came up huge ... When it came down to it, they made the plays to win the game."
Mississippi State had plenty of opportunities to put the game away but struggled to punch the ball into the end zone once the offense got into the red zone. The Bulldogs finished the game with 10 points in the red zone on four attempts. Devon Bell missed two field goals, and one that may have been the game winner with fewer than 30 seconds left in regulation. The offense with Russell and Perkins inside the twenty continued to struggle to get the ball into the end zone.
For being such an ugly game throughout, Mississippi State did a very good job playing a clean game. The Bulldogs had only two penalties all game, both on MSU’s final drive of regulation, adding about 20 yards to what would end up being Devon Bell’s missed field goal.
Mississippi State fought until the very end of the game and relied on the third string quarterback to ultimately score the game-winning touchdown.
The Bulldogs advanced to 5 – 6 on the season with their bowl hopes now resting solely on the Egg Bowl. The Bulldogs will take on the school up North on Thanksgiving day.
Have a great Egg Bowl week and GTHOM!