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(Saturday, September 14)
Final Score: Auburn 24, Mississippi State 20
Auburn, AL (Sports Network) - Nick Marshall threw the game-winning touchdown to C.J. Uzomah with just 10 seconds remaining in the game, to lead the Auburn Tigers over the Mississippi State Bulldogs, 24-20, in the SEC opener for both squads at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Marshall finished the contest connecting on 23-of-34 for 339 yards passing for the Tigers (3-0, 1-0 SEC) but was picked off twice. He targeted nine different receivers on the night, with Quan Bray leading the way with 80 yards on three catches, while Marcus Davis was his top target with six catches. Corey Grant was the leading rusher for the Tigers with 44 yards on eight carries. The dramatic win snapped Auburn's 10-game SEC losing streak.
Dak Prescott finished with 213 yards on 15-of-28 passing for the Bulldogs (1-2, 0-1). He also led the game in rushing, churning out 133 yards on 22 carries and adding two scores on the ground. Robert Johnson was his top receiver, pulling down four catches for 84 yards.
A 52-yard drive stalled in the red zone as the Tigers had to settle for a 40-yard field goal by Cody Parkey, as they opened the scoring early in the first quarter. The Bulldogs answered with a 12-play, 57-yard drive to the Auburn 18 but they also came to a halt in the red zone and had to settle for a Devon Bell 35-yard field goal attempt which missed wide right.
On the Tigers' next possession, they struck with the big play, with Marshall connecting on a 76-yard touchdown pass to Bray. Auburn was successful on the ensuing two-point conversion to up its lead to 11-0.
The Bulldogs finally got on the board with a two-play, 75-yard touchdown drive, capped by a 14-yard touchdown run by Jameon Lewis. The big play of the series was a 61-yard pass from Prescott to Johnson. The Bulldogs failed to convert the two-point conversion and still trailed 11-6 as the first quarter came to a close.
Auburn again failed to capitalize on a red zone chance, getting all the way down to the Mississippi State 2-yard line before being stopped and had to settle for Parkey's second field goal, putting them ahead 14-6 at the beginning of the second quarter. The Bulldogs rattled off a 11-play, 84-yard touchdown drive midway through the second, with Prescott running it in from five yards out to cut their deficit to just one, 14-13, with 5:05 to play in the half. The teams took that score to the locker room at halftime.
Mississippi State opened the second half with a 75-yard scoring drive, finished off by a 2-yard touchdown rush by Prescott to put them up 20-14. Prescott rushed the ball for 58 yards on the drive, including a 47-yard run to get the Bulldogs into the red zone. Auburn answered with another Parkey field goal, this one from 47 yards out, to make the score 20-17 early in the third. That drive featured Marshall completing a 37-yard pass to himself on a deflection.
The Bulldogs forced two turnovers in the second half but were unable to score on either. First they recovered a Mason fumble near midfield late in the third but actually lost yards on the drive and had to punt it away after going three and out. Early in the fourth Nickoe Whitley picked off his second Marshall pass of the game but the Bulldog offense was unable to capitalize on the miscue.
The Tigers winning drive started on their own 12-yard line and went 88 yards in just 1:46. Marshall went 5-for-7 on the drive and added three rushes for 20 yards.
The Bulldogs led in time of possession, 34:23 to 25:37, sacked Marshall three times and forced three turnovers, but allowed the Tigers to convert 7-of-15 third down attempts. The teams combined for just six penalties, with the Tigers being whistled for just one for five yards.
09/14 23:47:22 ET
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