EditorsNote: 4th graf, change winning streak to losing streak; host to hosts in last graf
Nick Fitzgerald ran for 195 yards and two touchdowns as he broke Tim Tebow’s record for career rushing yards by an SEC quarterback in Mississippi State’s 23-9 upset of No. 8 Auburn on Saturday night at Starkville, Miss.
Fitzgerald surpassed Tebow, who accumulated 2,947 rushing yards at Florida from 2006-09, on a fourth-quarter run.
Kylin Hill added 126 rushing yards as the Bulldogs gained 349 of their 418 total yards on the ground.
Mississippi State (4-2, 1-2 SEC) ended a two-game losing streak and handed first-year head coach Joe Moorhead his first conference win.
All of Auburn’s scoring came on three field goals by Anders Carlson, but the Bulldogs’ Jace Christmann matched Carlson with three field goals of his own.
The Tigers (4-2, 1-2) finished with just 304 yards, including a mere 90 rushing.
Christmann kicked a 32-yard field goal, and Carlson kicked a 38-yarder to account for all the third-quarter scoring as the Bulldogs maintained their 10-point halftime edge after three quarters.
The Tigers missed their best touchdown opportunity late in the third quarter when JaTarvious Whitlow broke free for a 42-yard run, but he fumbled as he was about to cross the goal line. The Bulldogs recovered for a touchback.
Carlson’s 24-yard field goal cut Mississippi State’s lead to 16-9 with 11:24 remaining.
Auburn drove to the Mississippi State 30, but turned the ball over on downs with 6:33 left, and Fitzgerald followed with a clinching 21-yard touchdown run.
The defenses set the tone in the early going. The only first-quarter scoring came when Carlson kicked a 47-yard field goal and Christmann answered with a 25-yarder to even the score.
After Christmann broke the tie with a 47-yarder of his own, the Mississippi State punt team created an opportunity for its offense.
The Bulldogs’ Joel Baldwin recovered Ryan Davis’ fumble on a punt return at the Tigers 36. Eight plays later, Fitzgerald ran 1 yard for a touchdown on fourth down as time expired in the second quarter.
That ended a seven-quarter touchdown drought for the Bulldogs and sent them into halftime with a 13-3 lead.
Mississippi State has a bye next week before visiting LSU on Oct. 20. Auburn hosts Tennessee next Saturday.
—Field Level Media