Go SEC Sports


        Your SEC Sports News

                 Apple iTunes






    Mississippi State

Go SEC Sports



Bulldogs Escape Louisiana Tech In OT, 26-20


STARKVILLE, Miss. - Two big plays on both sides of the ball within seconds of each other turned out to be the difference for Mississippi State.

In an outcome that couldn’t be decided in the allotted 60 minutes of regulation, the Bulldogs turned a nail-biter into a 26-20 overtime victory against Louisiana Tech on Saturday in front of 55,116 fans at Scott Field, most of whom were on the edge of their seats for the majority of the second half.

The decisive points came on the Bulldogs’ second play in the overtime frame, when quarterback Chris Relf lobbed a pass to LaDarius Perkins racing down the sideline for the 17-yard touchdown. It was Relf’s first completion since the third quarter, snapping a streak of seven-straight incompletions.

"I looked up again and the ball was in the light and it was coming toward me," said Perkins, who finished with 23 receiving yards to go along with his 47 rushing yards. "I knew I had to catch the ball."

But as big as that play proved to be, the MSU defense, which took the field first after winning the coin toss, delivered one of their own moments earlier that was just as monumental.

Tech, which fell to 1-3, picked up 5 yards on the first play in overtime, but on its second play, quarterback Nick Isham was picked off by Nickoe Whitley at the 3.

It was one of the few mistakes on the night for the true freshman signal caller, who was 29-of-40 passing for 233 yards. However, 18 of his completions covered just 10 yards or less.

“Give our guys a lot of credit. They continued to fight, and when they needed to make a play, they stepped up,” said MSU coach Dan Mullen, whose team improved to 2-2 on the year and travels to Georgia next Saturday for an 11 a.m. kickoff.

The first big play of the evening was turned in by the special teams unit.

Following a 72-yard punt by Tech’s Ryan Allen, Chad Bumphis hauled in the football and didn’t stop running until he scored 82-yards later to give MSU a 7-3 lead midway through the opening quarter. It was State’s first punt return for a score since Derek Pegues’ 75-yard return against Ole Miss in 2009.

After the visiting Bulldogs regained the lead at 10-7, Vick Ballard put MSU back on top at 14-10 on an 11-yard run with 8:45 left in the first half.

Derek DePasquale then extended the advantage to 17-10 on a 36-yard field goal with 1:38 before intermission, but LA Tech made it a 17-17 affair on a 14-yard scoring strike from Isham to Quinton Patton with 8:25 left in the third.

But on the Bulldogs' next possession, DePasquale again delivered following a Johnthan Banks interception. This time, his kick was from 24 yards out for a 20-17 lead.

But in the fourth, Tech forced overtime when Matt Nelson connected on his second field goal, this time from 28 yards with 8:42 to play.

For the game, the Bulldogs, now 3-4 all-time in overtime outings en route to improving to 8-3 against Tech, manufactured 340 yards of total offense, while Tech had 359. On the ground, Ballard paced MSU with 68 yards on 17 carries. His touchdown was the 24th of his career, which tied him for the third most in school history with Jackie Parker, John Bond and James Johnson.

Through the air, Relf was 14-of-29 passing for 164 yards.

“I don't think Chris had his best game, but give him credit. He stood in there under pressure and threw the game-winning touchdown pass in overtime,” said Mullen, whose teams are now 15-0 when leading after three quarters. "Fifteen years from now, we're going to remember the touchdown pass in overtime."

Defensively, senior linebacker Brandon Wilson totaled a game-high 18 tackles, the most since Titus Brown was credited with 18 against Arkansas in 2004.



Become a Fan    



Go Big 10 Sports





Copyright  2011 GOSECSPORTS.COM  All rights reserved.
GOSECSPORTS.com is not affiliated in any way with the SEC Conference®.
Team logos are the property of the respective members of the SEC.

This website is an unofficial source of sports news and information, and is not affiliated with any school, team or league.