STARKVILLE, Miss. — Senior quarterback Nick Fitzgerald’s record-breaking day on the ground led Mississippi State to a 23-9 win over No. 8 Auburn Saturday night at Davis Wade Stadium.
With the win, the Bulldogs notch their first Southeastern Conference win, and move to 4-2 (1-2 SEC). The Tigers fall to 4-2 (1-2 SEC).
The Bulldogs dominated the ground game, gaining 349 total rushing yards. Fitzgerald led the rushing attack with 195 yards, passing Tim Tebow as the Southeastern Conference’s all-time leading rusher among quarterbacks in the process. Tebow’s record was 2,947. Fitzgerald is now just one yard away from hitting 3,000 career rushing yards. He had both State touchdowns on the game. Sophomore running back Kylin Hill added 23 carries for 126 yards.
Defensively, the Bulldogs held Auburn to a 3-for-14 day on third down conversions. The Tigers tallied 304 yards of offense, 214 through the air and 90 on the ground. Senior safety Mark McLaurin led the Bulldogs with 10 total tackles on the night. Senior defensive end Montez Sweatsacked Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham three times, including one forced fumble.
The ball game was knotted up at 3-3 after the first quarter. After another field goal in the second quarter, Fitzgerald scored the game’s first touchdown in the last seconds of the first half on a one-yard quarterback draw up the middle to give MSU a 13-3 lead at the half.
The Bulldogs and Tigers traded field goals in the third quarter to make it a 16-6 game. Auburn’s Anders Carlson made his third field goal of the game to cut the Bulldogs’ lead to 16-9, but MSU was able to pull away after Fitzgerald scored for the second time on the day on a 21-yard rush with just over two minutes remaining to put State’s lead up to 23-9.
The Bulldogs will be off next week before returning to SEC action Saturday, Oct. 20, as they travel to face No. 5 LSU (5-1, 2-1 SEC).