Bulldogs survive overtime thriller against Arizona

Mississippi State tops Arizona 31-24 in Saturday night's overtime win.
Published: Sep. 10, 2023 at 8:54 PM CDT
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STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTOK) - After a holding penalty to begin overtime for the Bulldogs, Will Rogers found Jo’Quavious Marks for a six-yard gain. Then he found Jeffrey Pittman on a short pass that would go for a 29-yard touchdown to win the game.

The Bulldogs got the first possession. When Jayden de Laura and the Arizona Wildcats took their turn, de Laura threw three straight incomplete passes, and the Bulldogs impressive defense hangs on for the 31-24 defeat.

The defense forced five turnovers in regulation.

Two of those turnovers belonged to graduate linebacker, Jett Johnson, and his two interceptions. He also led the team with seven tackles and one sack.

Arizona’s first four offensive possessions ended in a turnover.

Rogers and the Bulldog offense were only able to gain 14 points off of those turnovers.

Head coach, Zach Arnett, credits the slow production on offense as his own coaching error.

“I didn’t have a good enough game plan as a coach,” Arnett said. “Players overcame my coaching in this game... like I said, they earned it, players win games.”

Rogers was 13-17 passing for 162 yards, the lowest amount of passing attempts in a game in his career.

In the receiving game, Marks and Tulu Griffin were the focal point of the offense. The two combined 238 yards and three touchdowns out of the offense’s 307 total yards and four touchdowns.

Although Arizona had more yardage on the day (431), the five turnovers helped the Bulldog’s defense hang on for the win.

“Half the teams in the country today lost and are disappointed, so we’re going to enjoy this one and celebrate this one,” said Arnett.

The Bulldogs will look to clean up the offensive as they adjust to the new scheme. With LSU coming to Starkville next Saturday, they’ll need to keep up with a team who’s scored a combined 96 points in the first two weeks of the season.