(Saturday, October 11th)
Final Score: Mississippi State 17, (13) Vanderbilt 14
Starkville, MS (Sports Network) - Anthony Dixon rushed for 107 yards while Tyson Lee threw a touchdown as the Mississippi State Bulldogs downed 13th- ranked Vanderbilt, 17-14, at Scott Field.
Lee threw for just 81 yards on 12-of-22 passing while Christian Ducre had eight carries for 40 yards and a score for the Bulldogs (2-4, 1-2 SEC), who snapped a three-game losing streak. Brandon McRae led Mississippi State receivers with five catches for 39 yards.
"I am proud of players because they won, " said Bulldogs head coach Sylvester Croom. "But I am more proud for the men they are. We are not the same team we were at the beginning of the season, and they are not the same people they were at the beginning of the season."
Mackenzi Adams was just 5-for-9 with 47 yards and a costly interception late in the game while Chris Nickson also saw time under center and finished 3- for-10 with 15 yards, an interception and a rushing touchdown for the Commodores (5-1, 3-1), who came into the game with their highest ranking since 1956.
"All the things we were doing when we won five games, we didn't do a very good job with today," said Vanderbilt head coach Bobby Johnson. "That's just the difference between winning and losing, especially when we take on team with a lot of talent like Mississippi State."
Vanderbilt started the second half with the ball, but were held to a three- and-out and Mississippi State started a drive with the ball at its own 41. The team converted a pair of third downs on the drive and on 3rd-and-goal from the four-yard-line, Lee lofted a pass to the right corner of the end zone and Brandon Henderson came down with it for a 10-7 lead with 8:09 left in the third.
The Bulldogs extended their lead early in the fourth quarter thanks to a timely interception. With Vanderbilt holding the ball at its own 14, De'Mon Glanton picked off a Nickson pass and got the ball down to the seven-yard- line. Three plays later, Ducre punched it in from three yards out for a 17-7 lead with 13:27 to play.
The Commodores, though, answered on their ensuing possession. Facing a 3rd- and-5, Adams connected with Justin Wheeler for a 16-yard play to get the ball down to the Mississippi State 16. A pass interference call then put the ball at the two-yard-line and Jeff Jennings punched it in to make it a 17-14 game with 8:16 left.
With 3:37 left in the game, Vanderbilt got the ball back at its own 28-yard- line, but on 2nd-and-17, Adams was picked off by Karlin Brown and the Bulldogs killed off the remainder of the clock for the win.
The Bulldogs got the only points of the first quarter and they did so on the first drive of the game. On the second play of the drive, Dixon got the ball past midfield on a 31-yard carry. The drive stalled at the Vanderbilt 17 and a 33-yard field goal from Adam Carlson gave the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead with a bit over nine minutes left in the first.
The Commodores finally got their offense on track on their last possession of the first half, but it was thanks in large part to the defense. The team benefited from a defensive stand that forced Mississippi State to punt from its own one-yard-line and Blake McAdams rushed punt from the end zone went just 16 yards. It took Vanderbilt six plays, but the team got into the end zone on Nickson's one-yard run to take a 7-3 lead into the locker room.
Vanderbilt managed just 43 yards in the first half, including six passing yards and 107 in the game...The Bulldogs finished the contest with 247 yards and controlled the ball for close to 13 minutes more than the Commodores...The Bulldogs are 11-7-2 all-time against Vanderbilt...Vanderbilt plays at Georgia next Saturday...The Bulldogs play at Tennessee next Saturday.
10/11 20:00:28 ET