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Photo by Kirby Clarke, TexAgs
Texas A&M Football

Post-Game Review: Mississippi State 48, Texas A&M 31

October 4, 2014
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STARKVILLE, Miss. — Texas A&M’s defense could not hold off Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott and the Aggie receivers couldn’t hold onto the ball in a 48-31 loss to No. 12 Mississippi State on Saturday at Davis Wade Stadium.

Prescott rushed for three touchdowns and passed for two against the sixth-ranked Aggies, who suffered their most one-sided loss in three seasons under head coach Kevin Sumlin.

The Aggies were unable to exploit the Mississippi State defense, which was ranked 121st in the nation against the pass. A&M’s receivers took some of the pressure off the Bulldogs with more than a dozen drops.

Kirby Clarke, TexAgs The Aggies fell behind early and couldn't rally on offense or defense, suffering their first loss. {"Module":"photo","Alignment":"right","Size":"large","Caption":"The Aggies fell behind early and couldn\u0027t rally on offense or defense, suffering their first loss.","MediaItemID":46962}
The Aggies jumped out to a 7-0 lead on Kenny Hill’s 13-yard touchdown pass to Josh Reynolds.

However, behind Prescott Mississippi State scored 28 answered points. The Aggies' hopes of rallying were thwarted by three Hill interceptions.

By the time the Aggies reached the end zone again, they were trailing 34-17 late in the third quarter and the outcome was essentially settled.

Rising: The number of drops by A&M receivers is climbing. That was an issue for the Aggies in last week’s win over Arkansas, but it was a plague against Mississippi State. The Aggies had 13 drops against one of the most vulnerable pass defenses in the country. Even usually glue-handed Edward Pope dropped one. The absence of injured senior receiver Malcome Kennedy certainly hurt, but that doesn’t explain everything.

Falling: The sixth-ranked Aggies will tumble in the national polls.

A loss will cost you; a blowout loss is even more expensive. A&M will most definitely fall out of the top 10. The Aggies may fall out of the top 15.

Best hands: Late in the third quarter Speedy Noil made one of the few spectacular plays by the Aggies. He leaped over Mississippi State DB Tolando Cleveland on the sideline to haul in Hill’s back-shoulder pass. Noil then had the presence of mind to extend the ball over the goal line with his left hand as he was falling out of bounds. The touchdown brought the Aggies within 34-17.

Best hit: Devonta Burns jarred the football loose from Mississippi State running back Josh Robinson, who had just made a double-clutch catch of a short pass. De'Vante Harris recovered the fumble at the A&M 48-yard line for a rare stop of the Bulldogs in the first half. It didn’t matter. The Aggies turned the ball back over two plays later.

Turning point: Trailing by two touchdowns, A&M recovered a Mississippi State fumble at midfield with 5:26 remaining in the second quarter. Sure, the deficit was sizeable, but just a week ago the Aggies rallied from a two-touchdown hole in the fourth quarter to win.

Kirby Clarke, TexAgs Hill's three interceptions, combined with A&M's drops and defensive struggles, prevented a comeback in Starkville. {"Module":"photo","Alignment":"left","Size":"large","Caption":"Hill\u0027s three interceptions, combined with A\u0026M\u0027s drops and defensive struggles, prevented a comeback in Starkville.","MediaItemID":46957}
So, the turnover gave them a chance to regain momentum and get back into contention. Instead, Hill threw a poor pass toward Boone Neiderhofer that linebacker Richie Bean intercepted. That led to a Dak Prescott touchdown run that staked the Bulldogs to a 28-7 lead. The Aggies never got closer than 17 points from there.

Standing ‘O’: Let’s give credit where credit is due. Prescott followed up a brilliant performance in last week’s victory over LSU with an even better showing against the Aggies. He rushed for 77 yards and three touchdowns and passed for 246 yards and two touchdowns.

Prescott definitely established himself as a serious Heisman Trophy contender. He may even be the leading contender now.

Scoring summary


First quarter

A&M: Josh Reynolds 11-yard pass from Kenny Hill (Josh Lambo kick). Key play: Edward Pope 29-yard pass from Hill. A&M 7, MSU 0

MSU: Josh Robinson 1-yard run (Evan Sobiesk kick). Key play: Robinson 41-yard run plus 5-yard targeting penalty. A&M 7, MSU 7

MSU: Robinson 2-yard run (Sobiesk kick). Key play: Joe Morrow 23-yard pass from Dak Prescott to A&M 8-yard line.  MSU 14, A&M 7

Second quarter

MSU: Prescott 2-yard run (Sobiesk kick). Key play: De’Runnya Wilson 34-yard pass from Prescott. MSU 21, A&M 7

MSU: Wilson 9-yard pass from Prescott (Sobiesk kick). Key play: Richie Brown interception and return to A&M 48-yard line. MSU 28, A&M 7

A&M: Lambo 26-yard FG. Key play: Hill 19-yard pass to Speedy Noil. MSU 28, A&M 10

Third quarter

MSU: Prescott 2-yard run. (kick blocked). Key play: Brandon Holloway 51-yard run. MSU 34, A&M 10

A&M: Speedy Noil 24-yard pass from Hill (Lambo kick), Key play: Sabian Holmes 27-yard pass from Hill. MSU 34, A&M 17

MSU: Fred Brown 52-yard pass from Prescott (Sobiesk kick). MSU 41, A&M 17

Fourth quarter

MSU: Prescott 11-yard run (Sobiesk kick). Key play: Brown interception returned 19 yards to A&M 25-yard line. MSU 48, A&M 17

A&M: Noil 6-yard pass from Hill (Lambo kick). Key play: Tra Carson 17-yard run. MSU 48, A&M 24

A&M: Reynolds 23-yard pass from Hill (Lambo kick). Key play: Noil recovers onside kick. MSU 48, A&M 31
 
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