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Tuesday, December 12, 2017, 4:38 a.m.

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Bulldogs score twice in final 4 minutes to escape Hogs' upset bid

By Kurt Voigt, The Associated Press

This article was published November 18, 2017 at 3:07 p.m.

mississippi-state-running-back-aeris-williams-slips-through-the-arkansas-defense-to-score-a-touchdown-during-the-first-half-of-an-ncaa-college-football-game-saturday-nov-18-2017-in-fayetteville-ap-photomichael-woods

Mississippi State running back Aeris Williams slips through the Arkansas defense to score a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017 in Fayetteville. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)

— Nick Fitzgerald threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Deddrick Thomas with 17 seconds remaining, and No. 16 Mississippi State survived a lackluster performance and four fumbles to earn a 28-21 win over Arkansas on Saturday.

The Bulldogs (8-3, 4-3 Southeastern Conference) won at least eight games in a season for the fourth time in coach Dan Mullen's nine years with the victory. They had already earned bowl eligibility for a school-record eighth straight season.

The Razorbacks (4-7, 1-6) led by a touchdown in the fourth quarter, but Fitzgerald tied the game with 4:07 remaining with a 37-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Todd.

Arkansas coach Bret Bielema then went for it on a fourth-and-two from the Razorbacks own 44, and the Bulldogs held. Nine plays later, Thomas scored to earn Mississippi State's fifth win in six games over Arkansas.

Fitzgerald accounted for three touchdowns and totaled 254 yards in the win, finishing 12-of-23 passing for 153 yards and rushing 22 times for 101 yards. The junior threw for a pair of touchdowns and rushed for another.

David Williams led Arkansas with 75 yards rushing on eight carries, while quarterback Austin Allen completed 11 of 17 passes for 119 yards.

Bielema is now 29-33 overall in his fifth season with the Razorbacks, 11-28 in the SEC.

THE TAKEAWAY

Mississippi State: The Bulldogs lost 31-24 a week ago to No. 1 Alabama, doing so in heartbreaking fashion when the Crimson Tide scored in the final minute to secure the victory. Mississippi State played like it was still recovering from the emotional fallout of that loss throughout on Saturday, losing three fumbles — including one on a botched punt return — after they had run four offensive plays. Despite the early struggles, Fitzgerald accounted for 178 of his yards in the second half for the comeback win.

Arkansas: The Razorbacks entered the game last in the SEC while allowing an average of 6.57 yards per play on defense, but they held the Bulldogs to only 130 yards in the first half while earning a 14-14 tie. Arkansas defensive end McTelvin Agim was at the forefront of the defense's stellar performance, finishing with 9 tackles, 2 ½ tackles for losses including a sack and two forced fumbles.

UP NEXT

Mississippi State hosts Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl on Thursday.

The Razorbacks close out the regular season by hosting Missouri on Friday.

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Comments on: Bulldogs score twice in final 4 minutes to escape Hogs' upset bid

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TravisBickle says... November 18, 2017 at 3:37 p.m.

Even though the Dawgs didn't cover the spread I knew the hapless Hogs wouldn't let me down in the 2nd half!! FIRE BERT BULIMIA NOW!!

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Pacorabone says... November 18, 2017 at 4:40 p.m.

Bulldogs did everything they could to give the game to Arkansas but the hogs just wouldn’t take the gift

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MuleriderRob says... November 18, 2017 at 4:50 p.m.

Great fourth down call Bret. Austin Allen, who missed open receivers all day long throwing deep into a 30 mile an hour wind. No wonder you are on the way out. Should have run it.

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RBBrittain says... November 18, 2017 at 4:55 p.m.

The only reason Bielema's not packing his bags now is the administration used him as an excuse to fire Jeff Long first. We shoulda fired Bielema first so we could move quickly to get a decent replacement. (Hint: I can forgive Charlie Strong for his problems at Texas, or even Bobby Petrino for putting his girlfriend on the payroll; but NEVER Gus Malzahn for stabbing Houston Nutt in the back!)

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GCW says... November 18, 2017 at 5:01 p.m.

Thank gawd there won't be a bowl game. The NWA fans failed the hogs big time, especially the students. Had they scheduled this game in LR and promoted it LR fans would have been there and made it the tough venue for visitors that LR was before the big pullback.

I forget that the important glassed in fans were there supporting their hogs.

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Delta2 says... November 18, 2017 at 5:18 p.m.

The tough venue for visitors that LR was????? Seriously, GCW? Have you ever talked to opposing fans? WMS is the league joke, it's an insult to whatever opponent was (un)fortunate enough to be scheduled there. It's a glorified high school stadium, and it was being successfully used as a negative recruiting tool.

Aside from that point, I imagine the NW Ark crowd is relieved...a win today and another against Mizzou, and the Hogs might have the misfortune of facing down ASU in Shreveport or Memphis, if they didn't decline the bid (which would not surprise me). Moot point now.

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Ragmop says... November 18, 2017 at 5:39 p.m.

How did Bielema win so many games in the Big 10 and lose so many in the SEC? His decision making has been poor on more than one occasion in the closing minutes of a game. I was really rooting for him to finish strong and get another year but today sealed his fate. Hopefully, we will get a coach that can recruit a QB that is a dual threat so we will be able to compete in the SEC.

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HarleyOwner says... November 18, 2017 at 5:43 p.m.

More bad coaching decisions today.

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GCW says... November 18, 2017 at 7:03 p.m.

How old are you Delta2 or is it short term memory?

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DerbiRider says... November 18, 2017 at 7:16 p.m.

Gosh. I wish at least putting a scare in a superior opponent counted for something. The zip and edge on AA's throwing is definitely no longer there. I think the actual condition of his throwing shoulder is being kept hush, hush. He likely won't even have a chance of playing on Sundays unlike big bro. I have to give our guys credit for a great effort today.

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