AUBURN, Ala. — Trailing 28-3 in the second quarter, Mississippi State scored 40 unanswered points to beat No. 17 Auburn 43-34 on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
With the win, the Bulldogs improve to 6-4 (4-3 SEC) and become bowl eligible for the 12th straight season. The win also marks the largest come-from-behind victory in Mississippi State history. Head coach Mike Leach is now tied with Emory Bellard for the school record of four wins over an Associated Press Top 25 team away from home. The Tigers fall to 6-4 (3-3 SEC) with the loss.
MSU sophomore quarterback Will Rogers completed 44 of his 55 passes (80%) for 415 yards and six touchdowns. Rogers connected with 10 different Bulldogs. Sophomore receiver Jaden Walley led the way with seven catches for 87 yards receiving, while redshirt sophomore receiver Makai Polk finished with 61 yards and two TDs on eight receptions.
On the ground, the Bulldogs totaled 72 yards rushing on 19 carries. Sophomore running back Dillon Johnson had eight carries for 62 yards and sophomore running back Jo’quavious Marks added six carries for 17 yards.
Auburn junior quarterback Bo Nix completed 27 of his 41 passes (65.9%) for 377 yards and two TDs. Sophomore receiver Kobe Hudson had eight catches for 107 yards receiving and a TD, while sophomore receiver Ja’Varrius Johnson had four catches for 102 yards.
The Tigers carried the ball 27 times for 106 yards rushing. Sophomore running back Tank Bigsby had 16 carries for 41 yards and two TDs and Johnson had one carry that resulted in a 57-yard TD.
The MSU defense held the Tigers to 158 yards and six points in the second half.
Auburn scored touchdowns on its first four drives and MSU managed just three points via a 34-yard field goal from redshirt freshman kicker Nolan McCord in that span as the Bulldogs trailed 28-3 with 6:10 left in the first half.
The Bulldogs then scored 40 unanswered points to go up 43-28 late into the fourth quarter.
Polk’s first score, a 4-yard catch, made it 28-10 at the halftime break. Rogers then threw a pair of 3-yard TD passes in the third quarter, one to graduate student receiver Jamire Calvin and one to Johnson, to cut the deficit to five points at 28-23 with 4:28 left in the third quarter.
Rogers’ 6-yard TD pass to Polk then gave the Bulldogs a 29-28 lead 13:28 left in the game. Another 3-yard TD pass to Calvin and a 6-yard TD pass to senior receiver Malik Heath put MSU ahead 43-28 with 5:31 left.
The Tigers added a late score thanks to a nine-play, 90-yard drive that was capped off with a 1-yard TD run by Bigsby, but the Bulldogs prevailed for a 43-34 win.
The Bulldogs will now go back home to host Tennessee State at 11 a.m. CT on SEC Network+.