Coming into this game I was hopeful to see Nick Fitzgerald and our Bulldogs bounce back from the Alabama loss with a decisive win against the Arkansas Razorbacks... they did not disappoint. Miss. State came out on Senior Day fired up and ready to go for these seniors last home game in Starkville at Davis Wade Stadium and dominated Arkansas 52-6. They played with such intensity and I for one could not be prouder of how our Bulldogs played on this day to send our seniors out as winners in their last home game. I thought it was very fitting for this game to go the way it did while they were wearing one of my favorite alternate uniforms for military appreciation day. They played great and looked great while doing it. All-in-all this was a perfect send-off to a group of seniors whose time seemed to fly by and I cannot even explain how much they mean to this University and how much we will all miss seeing them play at Davis Wade.
Nick Fitzgerald came into this game after a very disappointing performance against Alabama, but I think it is safe to say he put it behind him and came out ready to play. The first drive started very promising, but ended up having to settle for 3 points, from K Jace Christman, after stalling at the Arkansas 2-yard line. The next drive for the Bulldogs resulted in a punt, but that would be the last punt of the day for our Bulldogs. Nick Fitzgerald capped off the next drive with a 2 yard rushing Touchdown to give the Bulldogs a 10-0 lead in the 2nd quarter, but I have to commend Miss. State Running Back Nick Gibson for getting us down there with some tough runs. After that drive, it seemed our Bulldogs kind of woke up for the early game and never looked back. Nick Gibson ended up finding the end zone on an 8 yard run the next drive to give the Bulldogs a 17-0 lead later on in the 2nd quarter and surprisingly this would be the last rushing Touchdown of the day for the Bulldogs. However, Miss. State RB Aeris Williams ran the ball like a man possessed throughout this game. I absolutely love watching how he and Kylin Hill, who was out nursing a hamstring injury, run the ball. Williams fought for every single yard he got, grinding the ball forward after initial contact on every run. Williams finished with 104 yards on 15 carries, while the team finished with 287 yards rushing overall.
Nick Fitzgerald did not have to throw the ball too much in this game, but when he did he definitely made it count. On the Bulldogs first drive of the 2nd half Fitzgerald found Bulldogs TE Justin Johnson for a 34 yard TD to give Miss. State a 24-6 lead in the 3rd quarter. After a botched punt by Arkansas that led to a fumble being recovered by Chris Rayford for the Bulldogs deep inside Arkansas territory, the Bulldogs only needed 1 play to score, with Fitzgerald finding WR Keith Mixon in the end zone for a 4 yard Touchdown pass to give the Bulldogs a 31-6 advantage. After another turnover by Arkansas, this time an interception by C.J. Morgan, the Bulldogs only needed 3 plays to score a Touchdown with Fitzgerald finding WR Osirus Mitchell for a 15 yard touchdown pass to give the Bulldogs a commanding 38-6 lead. Miss. State’s defense would force Arkansas to turn the ball over on downs the next possession and what came after had every Bulldogs fan holding their breath. On Fitzgerald’s last rushing attempt at Davis Wade Stadium, he dove forward and made contact with an Arkansas defender for a 16 yard run and a first down, but he did not get up immediately. I had actually questioned why Fitzgerald was still in the game, which we all knew was in hand, in the 4th quarter not long before that play. I figured, well it’s his last game here... why not? When he didn’t get up, I told myself, that’s why. Thankfully, Fitzgerald got up and was able to run off the field on his own... disaster avoided. Keytaon Thompson came into the game and ran the ball in for what appeared to be a 9-yard Touchdown run, but offensive holding negated the score. The next play, Fitzgerald came back on the field. I actually yelled “why!?” out loud when he did, but Fitzgerald then threw his last Touchdown pass at Davis Wade Stadium, a 19-yard TD pass to Austin Williams, and then Moorhead pulled him with the Bulldogs leading 45-6. I honestly imagined Fitzgerald yelling back to me “that’s why” as he celebrated a TD with his teammates for the last time on Scott Field. While I questioned Moorhead’s decision to bring him back on the field, I was happy to see Fitzgerald get that last touchdown pass and leave the field on a good note. Heck, knowing how Fitzgerald is, I bet he was the one refusing to let that be his last play. Nick Fitzgerald finished his last home game 9 for 14 passing with 127 yards and 4 TD passes, and ran the ball 14 times for 85 yards with 1 TD run. Keytaon Thompson, the future starting QB for Miss. State, came in and finished the game, capping the Bulldogs scoring with a 33-yard Touchdown pass to Austin Williams to give the Bulldogs a 52-6 lead.
While this was Nick Fitzgerald’s and many other seniors last game in Starkville at Davis Wade Stadium, we all know we have 1 more game to cap off this regular season. That’s right fellow Bulldogs faithful, it is finally time for the Egg Bowl! Enjoy the time with your family, eat plenty of good food and tell everyone how nobody makes better deviled eggs than your mom’s and grandmas’s(you can all stop right there, seriously... my mom makes the best deviled eggs on earth) and get ready for the Battle for the Golden Egg! We can be civil during the day for Thanksgiving, but come 6:30pm it’s time for all that trash talk to become irrelevant and comes down to whose team performs better on the field. We all know how this game ended for our Bulldogs last season, yes I hate thinking about it too, but I believe Nick Fitzgerald and our Bulldogs remember it very well and will use that memory come Thursday night! Bring it Home Bulldogs!