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Mississippi State beats Texas A&M 35-14 for 3rd straight win

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) Mississippi State hasn't played a close game this season and that trend continued on Saturday night at Texas A&M. The Bulldogs whipped the Aggies 35-14 at Kyle Field to win their third consecutive game.

''Six wins means that our guys are rewarded with one more game,'' MSU coach Dan Mullen said of the Bulldogs becoming bowl-eligible with four regular-season games remaining. ''Hopefully we'll get some more.''

No one is doubting that at this point, with November still to come. Mississippi State (6-2, 3-2 SEC) hadn't won or lost a game by less than 25 points heading into Saturday's contest. The Aggies (5-3, 3-2) were coming off their bye week, but looked like the frazzled team between the lines on Saturday.

''Tonight was very frustrating, particularly in the first half when we had some opportunities,'' said A&M coach Kevin Sumlin, whose job is on the line in College Station.

Meanwhile Mullen had a good time with anyone who picked his program to finish with only six wins this season - and there were plenty of prognosticators who did so in the summer.

''We made their predictions come true,'' Mullen said, smiling. ''I guess we hit that - but there's a lot of football left to be played.''

The Bulldogs burst to a 14-0 halftime lead thanks to a run-stuffing and pass-swatting defense. Nick Fitzgerald got MSU on the board late in the first quarter with a 2-yard touchdown keeper to cap a 16-play, 86-yard drive.

Late in the second quarter MSU added to its lead with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Fitzgerald to Donald Gray, the fourth play of a 53-yard drive highlighted by Fitzgerald's 45-yard dash against a reeling defense.

After halftime MSU picked up where it left off, as Fitzgerald connected with Farrod Green on a 41-yard passing play, and then Fitzgerald hooked up with a wide-open Jordan Thomas on a 10-yard touchdown pass to lift the Bulldogs to a 21-0 lead with 11:47 left in the third quarter.

''We had a great game plan going in,'' Fitzgerald said. ''We knew if we could move them up front and we could run the ball, that's what we were going to do. Obviously, it worked out for us.''

A&M finally got on the board in the third quarter on a direct snap to running back Keith Ford for a 1-yard touchdown, capping a drive highlighted by quarterback Kellen Mond's 33-yard scramble. The Bulldogs answered quickly with an interception of Mond's pass and, three plays later, Nick Gibson bulled his way into the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown run to again push the MSU lead to a comfortable three touchdowns.

A year earlier Fitzgerald had blasted 74 yards for a touchdown on the Bulldogs' first play from scrimmage in an eventual 35-28 MSU victory in Starkville, Miss., that squashed the national-title hopes of A&M, slotted fourth in the initial College Football Playoff rankings last season.

This time both teams were unranked, but Fitzgerald again worked over the Aggies with his legs and feet. The Bulldogs outgained the Aggies 369-285 in total offense, including 228-96 on the ground.

''I'm really proud of our guys and their attitude with which they approached the game and went out and performed,'' Mullen said.

A&M quarterback Nick Starkel, recovered from a broken ankle suffered in the season opener, replaced a roughed-up Mond in the fourth quarter, and threw an interception returned for a touchdown by Jamal Peters. But Starkel rebounded on A&M's next offensive series with a 70-yard touchdown pass to Camron Buckley late in the game, with the Bulldogs' lead already well out of reach.

THE TAKEAWAY

Texas A&M: The Aggies had lived on the edge for much of the season with four second-half comebacks against subpar opponents. Their luck ran out against a quality foe on Saturday night.

Mississippi State: The Bulldogs are on a roll after consecutive stumbles against Georgia and Auburn. They'll be put to the ultimate test on Nov. 11 at home against Alabama, but first up for MSU is Massachusetts at Davis-Wade Stadium.

KEY NUMBERS

Texas A&M: The Aggies were nearly equally inept in the running game. Trayveon Williams and Kellen Mond led the way with 32 yards rushing each, while Keith Ford added 25. Williams averaged 3.2 yards per carry and Ford followed with 3.1.

Mississippi State: Nick Fitzgerald rushed for more yards (105) than the Aggies did as a team (96). Fitzgerald whipped up on A&M last year, too, and the Aggies will be glad when they don't have to face him anymore.

UP NEXT

Texas A&M: The Aggies play their second of three consecutive home games when No. 19 Auburn visits Kyle Field on Saturday. The visitors have won in each of the five previous games as SEC West opponents.

Mississippi State: The Bulldogs take a break from SEC play by hosting Massachusetts on Saturday. Mississippi State has won three consecutive games following league losses on the road at Georgia and Auburn.

LAST WORD

''After the first three games, we were riding really high. The next two knocked us back down, back to where we needed to be. We reevaluated where we were as a team, and since then we've played pretty well.''

MSU quarterback Nick Fitzgerald on losses on the road to Georgia and Auburn sparking the team.

---

More AP college football: http://collegefootball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-Top25

Copyright 2017 by STATS. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS is strictly prohibited.

Scoring Summary
4th Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 5:15
36-D.LaCamera extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
35
14
Touchdown 5:15
17-N.Starkel complete to 14-C.Buckley. 14-C.Buckley runs 70 yards for a touchdown.
5
plays
83
yds
02:04
pos
35
13
Point After TD 7:23
47-J.Christmann extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
35
7
Touchdown 7:37
17-N.Starkel incomplete. INTERCEPTED by 2-J.Peters at MSST 10. 2-J.Peters runs 90 yards for a touchdown.
13
plays
82
yds
02:56
pos
34
7
3rd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 5:00
47-J.Christmann extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
28
7
Touchdown 5:00
21-N.Gibson runs 14 yards for a touchdown.
3
plays
32
yds
01:04
pos
27
7
Point After TD 8:20
36-D.LaCamera extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
21
7
Touchdown 8:20
7-K.Ford runs 1 yard for a touchdown.
10
plays
76
yds
03:22
pos
21
6
Point After TD 11:47
47-J.Christmann extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
21
0
Touchdown 11:47
7-N.Fitzgerald complete to 83-J.Thomas. 83-J.Thomas runs 10 yards for a touchdown.
7
plays
88
yds
02:49
pos
20
0
2nd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 3:30
47-J.Christmann extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
14
0
Touchdown 3:30
7-N.Fitzgerald complete to 6-D.Gray. 6-D.Gray runs 8 yards for a touchdown.
5
plays
58
yds
01:34
pos
13
0
1st Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 3:34
47-J.Christmann extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
7
0
Touchdown 3:34
7-N.Fitzgerald runs 2 yards for a touchdown.
16
plays
86
yds
08:13
pos
6
0
Team Stats
1st Downs 19 15
Rushing 11 6
Passing 7 7
Penalty 1 2
3rd Down Conv 6-14 7-17
4th Down Conv 0-0 0-1
Total Net Yards 362 272
Total Plays 73 69
Avg Gain 5.0 3.9
Net Yards Rushing 228 96
Rush Attempts 52 28
Avg Rush Yards 4.4 3.4
Net Yards Passing 134 176
Comp. - Att. 12-21 16-41
Yards Per Pass 6.4 4.3
Sacked - Yards Lost 2-7 3-13
Penalties - Yards 5-45 4-30
Touchdowns 5 2
Rushing TDs 2 1
Passing TDs 2 1
Other 1 0
Turnovers 1 3
Fumbles - Lost 0-0 0-0
Int. Thrown 1 3
Punts - Avg 6-30.2 8-43.8
Return Yards 149 84
Punts - Returns 2-7 2-29
Kickoffs - Returns 1-29 3-55
Int. - Returns 3-113 1-0
Kicking 5/5 2/2
Extra Points 5/5 2/2
Field Goals 0/0 0/0
Safeties 0 0
1234T
Miss. St. 6-2 7714735
Texas A&M 5-3 007714
134 PASS YDS 176
228 RUSH YDS 96
362 TOTAL YDS 272
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT
N. Fitzgerald 7 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
57.1% 141 2 1 135.4
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
56.9% 1320 13 8 122.9
N. Fitzgerald 12/21 141 2 1
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
N. Fitzgerald 7 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
18 105 1
SEASON ATT YDS TD
99 666 10
N. Fitzgerald 18 105 1 45
Ae. Williams 22 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
22 68 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
139 662 2
Ae. Williams 22 68 0 9
N. Gibson 21 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
4 43 1
SEASON ATT YDS TD
35 228 1
N. Gibson 4 43 1 17
K. Hill 8 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
5 10 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
50 260 1
K. Hill 5 10 0 6
D. Lee 28 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 4 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
15 59 1
D. Lee 1 4 0 4
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
F. Green 82 TE
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
3 51 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
6 141 0
F. Green 3 51 0 41
Je. Jackson 86 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
4 39 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
16 138 0
Je. Jackson 4 39 0 16
K. Mixon 23 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 17 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
17 255 1
K. Mixon 1 17 0 17
N. Gibson 21 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 12 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
2 16 0
N. Gibson 1 12 0 12
J. Thomas 83 TE
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 10 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
12 105 3
J. Thomas 1 10 1 10
D. Gray 6 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 8 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
24 214 3
D. Gray 1 8 1 8
Ju. Johnson 81 TE
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 4 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
5 18 1
Ju. Johnson 1 4 0 4
R. Todd 20 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
0 0 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
5 36 0
R. Todd 0 0 0 0
Defense T-A SACK INT
E. Thompson 40 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
7-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
7-0 0 0.0
E. Thompson 7-0 0.0 0
M. Sweat 9 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-1 0 2.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
5-1 0 2.0
M. Sweat 5-1 2.0 0
L. Lewis 10 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-3 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
5-3 0 0.0
L. Lewis 5-3 0.0 0
M. McLaurin 41 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-2 1 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-2 2 0.0
M. McLaurin 3-2 0.0 1
J. Gray 12 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
J. Gray 2-1 0.0 0
C. Dantzler 13 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
C. Dantzler 2-0 0.0 0
G. Green 4 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-0 1 0.0
G. Green 2-0 0.0 0
D. Harris 11 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
D. Harris 1-0 0.0 0
C. Rayford 24 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
C. Rayford 1-0 0.0 0
B. Bryant 1 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-0 1 0.0
B. Bryant 1-0 0.0 0
W. Gay 6 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 1.0
W. Gay 1-0 1.0 0
M. Spencer 42 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
M. Spencer 1-0 0.0 0
C. Thomas 34 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
C. Thomas 0-1 0.0 0
J. Peters 2 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-1 1 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-1 1 0.0
J. Peters 0-1 0.0 1
L. Durr 25 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-0 1 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-0 1 0.0
L. Durr 0-0 0.0 1
J. Simmons 94 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-2 0 0.0
J. Simmons 0-2 0.0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
J. Christmann 47 K
IN-GAME FG XP
0/0 5/5
SEASON FG XP
6/6 25/25
J. Christmann 0/0 0 5/5 5
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
L. Cooke 43 P
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
5 33.4 0
SEASON NO AVG IN20
32 43.7 0
L. Cooke 5 33.4 0 39
N. Fitzgerald 7 QB
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
1 14.0 0
SEASON NO AVG IN20
1 14.0 0
N. Fitzgerald 1 14.0 0 14
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
R. Todd 20 WR
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 29.0 29 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
2 15.5 29 0
R. Todd 1 29.0 29 0
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
D. Gray 6 WR
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
2 3.5 4 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
7 9.0 4 0
D. Gray 2 3.5 4 0
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT
N. Starkel 17 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
53.3% 133 1 1 136.5
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
50% 195 1 1 113.1
N. Starkel 8/15 133 1 1
K. Mond 11 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
30.8% 56 0 2 33.5
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
50.7% 1281 7 6 108.6
K. Mond 8/26 56 0 2
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
T. Williams 5 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
10 32 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
101 472 5
T. Williams 10 32 0 14
K. Mond 11 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
6 32 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
86 350 3
K. Mond 6 32 0 33
K. Ford 7 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
8 25 1
SEASON ATT YDS TD
85 368 8
K. Ford 8 25 1 7
K. Bussey 25 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
3 11 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
40 232 1
K. Bussey 3 11 0 8
N. Starkel 17 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 -4 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
3 -11 0
N. Starkel 1 -4 0 -4
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
C. Buckley 14 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 88 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
6 183 2
C. Buckley 2 88 1 70
C. Kirk 3 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
5 33 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
34 393 5
C. Kirk 5 33 0 11
K. Bussey 25 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 25 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
5 62 0
K. Bussey 2 25 0 18
J. Ausbon 2 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
3 25 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
25 263 1
J. Ausbon 3 25 0 16
D. Ratley 4 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 7 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
13 307 0
D. Ratley 1 7 0 7
T. Williams 5 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 7 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
14 116 0
T. Williams 2 7 0 4
R. Paul 6 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 4 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
8 52 0
R. Paul 1 4 0 4
K. Rogers 13 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
0 0 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
3 21 0
K. Rogers 0 0 0 0
K. Ford 7 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
0 0 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
10 55 0
K. Ford 0 0 0 0
Defense T-A SACK INT
O. Alaka 42 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
8-1 1 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
8-1 1 0.0
O. Alaka 8-1 0.0 1
L. Durham 46 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
7-0 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
7-0 0 1.0
L. Durham 7-0 1.0 0
K. Carper 14 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-1 0 0.0
K. Carper 4-1 0.0 0
C. Oliver 21 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-0 0 0.0
C. Oliver 4-0 0.0 0
K. Keke 88 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-3 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-3 0 0.0
K. Keke 3-3 0.0 0
D. Mack 5 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
D. Mack 3-0 0.0 0
T. Dodson 25 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-8 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-8 3 0.0
T. Dodson 3-8 0.0 0
Z. Henderson 92 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
Z. Henderson 2-0 0.0 0
A. Hines III 19 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
A. Hines III 2-0 0.0 0
J. Madubuike 95 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 0.0
J. Madubuike 1-1 0.0 0
J. Johnson 40 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 1.0
J. Johnson 1-1 1.0 0
J. Dunning 8 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 0.0
J. Dunning 1-1 0.0 0
D. Renfro 29 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
D. Renfro 1-0 0.0 0
J. Peevy 93 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
J. Peevy 0-1 0.0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
S. Tripucka 18 P
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
8 43.8 3
SEASON NO AVG IN20
49 45.8 3
S. Tripucka 8 43.8 3 52
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
C. Kirk 3 WR
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
3 18.3 22 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
15 25.2 22 1
C. Kirk 3 18.3 22 0
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
D. Capers-Smith 26 DB
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 3.0 3 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
1 3.0 3 0
D. Capers-Smith 1 3.0 3 0
C. Kirk 3 WR
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 26.0 26 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
6 13.8 26 0
C. Kirk 1 26.0 26 0
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
15:00 MISSST 25 2:11 5 32 INT
11:47 MISSST 14 8:13 16 86 TD
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
14:49 MISSST 10 2:50 5 20 Punt
10:09 MISSST 24 1:26 5 -2 Punt
7:04 MISSST 20 1:43 3 7 Punt
5:04 MISSST 47 1:34 5 58 TD
1:32 MISSST 13 0:56 4 21 Halftime
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
14:36 MISSST 27 2:49 7 73 TD
8:20 MISSST 29 1:54 6 11 Punt
6:04 TXAM 32 1:04 3 32 TD
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
3:14 MISSST 27 2:51 10 39 Punt
13:10 MISSST 36 2:30 4 2 Punt
5:11 TXAM 49 1:37 3 7 Punt
1:13 MISSST 24 0:39 2 -2 Game
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
12:44 MISSST 43 0:49 4 -5 Punt
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
3:34 TXAM 25 3:11 8 19 Punt
11:52 TXAM 31 1:35 3 9 Punt
8:31 TXAM 34 1:20 3 3 Punt
5:12 TXAM 41 0:00 1 59 INT
3:30 TXAM 25 1:44 5 19 Punt
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
15:00 TXAM 25 0:13 3 0 Punt
11:42 TXAM 24 3:22 10 76 TD
6:18 TXAM 30 0:00 1 70 INT
4:56 TXAM 16 1:31 3 7 Punt
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
13:44 TXAM 23 0:28 3 0 Punt
10:33 TXAM 31 2:56 13 58 INT
7:19 TXAM 17 2:04 5 83 TD
3:23 TXAM 33 2:08 10 43 Downs