STARKVILLE, Miss. (MSU Athletics/WTVA) - After relying heavily on the ground game in previous weeks, Mississippi State found its success through the air on Saturday, upsetting No. 16 Texas A&M 28-13 at Davis Wade Stadium.
Senior quarterback Nick Fitzgerald threw for 241 yards and a pair of scores for the Bulldogs (5-3, 2-3 SEC), who defeated the Aggies (5-3, 3-2) for the third straight season and the fourth time in five seasons.
"I don't know if I've ever been as proud of a group of players and group of coaches for the way they came out and battled tonight," head coach Joe Moorhead said. "We talked about calling this game aggressively on offense, defense and special teams—particularly on offense. I think we performed well in all three phases, and there are certainly things we can clean up. But, it feels good to beat another top-20 team and I appreciate all the fans who came out tonight and supported us."
On the ground, the Bulldogs racked up 143 yards, led by Fitzgerald's game-high 88 yards and two scores - the second coming on a 76-yard jaunt with 2:17 left in regulation to ice the victory for MSU.
State got out to a quick 7-0 lead, taking its first drive of the contest 79 yards down the field, capping it off with a 25-yard strike from Fitzgerald to Stephen Guidry, who led all receivers with 130 yards on just three catches. Guidry's 84-yard catch from Fitzgerald in the fourth quarter set up a 1-yard drive by the signal caller to put the Bulldogs up 21-13 early in the final period.
Texas A&M's lone lead came in the second quarter, when Kellen Mond hit Quartney Davis from 34 yards out with 14 seconds before halftime for a 10-7 Aggie advantage. State answered on the first drive of the second half when Fitzgerald connected with Osirus Mitchell on a 38-yard pass that gave the Bulldogs the lead for good. Mitchell had six catches for 96 yards on the night.
From there, the Bulldog defense took command, holding the Aggies to a lone field goal in the entire second half. MSU's defense also held the high-powered A&M offense to its lowest total yardage count of the season (293). Pacing State's stoppers was Johnathan Abram with nine tackles, a pass breakup and a quarterback hurry. Jaquarius Landrews added seven stops, two sacks and three pass breakups.