Following a sluggish opening half, Mississippi State stormed back with 34 second half points to fend off Massachusetts 47-35 and even its record to 2-2.
Trailing 14-13 at the break, the Bulldogs scored three touchdowns in the third quarter – two on Nick Fitzgerald throws and the other on a 38-yard pick six by Jamoral Graham.
UMass (1-3) pulled back within six with five minutes to go but the Bulldogs were able to put things away on a 12-yard touchdown run by Fulton native Ashton Shumpert.
MSU totaled 598 yards of offense led by Fitzgerald, who threw for 299 yards and three touchdowns and also added 110 yards on the ground.
With UMass leading 7-6 with 2:01 left before halftime, the Bulldogs got the fourth down stop it needed only to give the Minutemen another chance when Johnathan Calvin jumped offsides on the play. UMass made the Bulldogs pay on the extra play as Jalen Williams leaped over Lashard Durr for a 31-yard touchdown from Andrew Ford.
Nick Fitzgerald generated 409 yards of offense and three touchdowns on the day. The sophomore quarterback completed 25 of 38 passes for 299 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions while carrying 15 times for 110 yards.
“I just made a play, it came to me and I just did what I had to do. My freshman year was the last time I scored a touchdown.” – MSU junior cornerback Jamoral Graham