FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) - In a game that came down to the final play, No. 16 Mississippi State (8-3, 4-3 SEC) beat Arkansas (4-7, 1-6) 28-21 in Fayetteville on the back of a Nick Fitzgerald touchdown pass to Deddrick Thomas with 17 seconds left in the game. After State's defense stopped a lateral-filled final attempt by the Hogs to tie it up, the Bulldogs victory was secured.
Arkansas went up early after a punt on their first possession was shanked and bounced off an unaware MSU defender, giving the Razorbacks a second chance that they took advantage of. In fact, all three of the Arkansas scores came off miscues as their following touchdown was a fumble by MSU that a Razorback defender recovered in the end zone. UA's final score of the game came after the Razorbacks fumbled a ball that got bobbled forward all the way to the one, where a Razorback finally recovered it.
Mississippi State's defense held strong otherwise, only allowing Arkansas 221 total yards and only 97 yards rushing. MSU junior rusher Montez Sweat stood out, registering 2.5 sacks on four total tackles. Johnathan Abram and Jeffery Simmons led the Bulldogs with five tackles each, Abram forcing a fumble and Simmons notching another sack.
Offensively, Fitzgerald went over 100 yards on the ground yet again, leading MSU with 101 yards on 22 carries and a score. Junior running back Aeris Williams was just behind him with 71 yards and a touchdown. Freshman receiver Reggie Todd, who scored the tying touchdown to make it 21-21, was MSU's leading receiver with 50 yards and a score on three catches.
State will now host arch rival Ole Miss in the annual Battle for the Golden Egg on Thanksgiving night, Nov. 23, at Davis Wade Stadium. The game will kick off at 6:30 p.m. CT and be televised nationally by ESPN.