Mississippi State QB Nick Fitzgerald leaves rivalry game with gruesome injury

Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald suffered a severe injury to his right leg in the first quarter of the Bulldogs' rivalry game against Ole Miss Thursday night.

Fitzgerald's leg bent in an awkward position when he was tackled following a running play. The game was delayed for several minutes while Fitzgerald received treatment on the field before being carted off.

Fitzgerald came into the game leading the SEC in yards rushing for a quarterback, with 968 yards on the ground in 11 games. He also has thrown for 1,770 yards, 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Fitzgerald was replaced by freshman Keytaon Thompson, who has thrown for 66 yards and a touchdown this season.

Mississippi State, which entered the game ranked No. 16 in the country, lost to Ole Miss 31-28.

The Rebels (6-6, 3-5 Southeastern Conference) had a 10-6 lead at halftime and then broke the game open in the third quarter with Brown's 77-yard touchdown catch and another 63-yard touchdown pass to D.K. Metcalf.

Ole Miss isn't eligible for a bowl game because of a self-imposed postseason ban related to an NCAA infractions case that continues to hover over the program. The Rebels also lost head coach Hugh Freeze when he resigned during the summer after a school investigation into his phone records .

"The record wasn't what we wanted it to be," running back Jordan Wilkins said. "But we kept fighting as a team ... There's no better feeling than to finish it off like this."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.