On the annual Thanksgiving meeting between Mississippi State football and Ole Miss, one thing was certain: This rivalry was going to provide excitement once more.
Mississippi State, after allowing an Ole Miss field goal on the opening drive, responded immediately. The Bulldogs went 61 yards on 10 plays — six passes and four runs — on their opening drive to take a 7-3 lead.
MSU had minus-3 yards in its ensuing four drives. Ole Miss (8-4, 4-4) brought pressure on quarter Will Rogers without designed blitzes. Often times, it only took a three-man rush as the coverage remained tight and forced Rogers to hold onto the ball. The Bulldogs only called five designed runs on those four drives. One of those came on a third-and-34.
The short offensive drives forced MSU’s defense onto the field repeatedly. The Bulldogs were able to limit the Rebels to three field goals for most of the half before Ole Miss finally broke through for a second quarter touchdown.
Jo’quavious Marks dropped a touchdown pass on first-and-goal with 44 seconds left and MSU trailing 10-6. He dropped another touchdown pass on the next play. Then, receiver Lideatrick Griffin dropped a touchdown pass. MSU was forced to kick a field goal, which Nolan McCord missed.
The Bulldogs flipped the script in Oxford on Thusday, with Griffin getting his revenge. After Ole Miss’ touchdown to go up 16-7, MSU had a 12-play, 75-yard drive to bring the game within 16-14 at halftime.
Mississippi State opened the second half with a turnover on downs with Rogers scrambling out of bounds well short of the line to gain on the final play. The next drive went minus-6 yards. The third drive of the second half lasted one play, with Rogers fumbling and giving the ball to Ole Miss in MSU territory.
Ole Miss went 30 yards to get the ball inside the MSU 5-yard line after the Rogers fumble. That’s where, on a fourth-and-1, linebacker Tyrus Wheat broke into the backfield to get a hurry on Dart and force an incomplete pass.
Biscardi split the uprights to give MSU a 17-16 lead — its first lead since early in the second quarter. A Rara Thomas touchdown midway through the fourth proved to be the winning score.
MSU now waits to see which bowl game assignment. The College Football Playoff committee will announce its final rankings at 11 a.m. on Dec. 4. The bowl announcements will follow shortly after.
source: Jackson Clarion Ledger