Inability to close out first half bites Bulldogs

Dak Prescott tossed a short TD pass to De'Runnya Wilson to bring MSU within two points late in the first half, but the Bulldogs gave up a quick scoring drive to Texas A&M. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Dak Prescott tossed a short TD pass to De’Runnya Wilson to bring MSU within two points late in the first half, but the Bulldogs gave up a quick scoring drive to Texas A&M. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

By Logan Lowery

Daily Journal

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Mississippi State silenced the crowd at Kyle Field just before halftime when Dak Prescott tossed a three-yard touchdown to De’Runnya Wilson.

The score with 54 seconds remaining in the first half pulled the Bulldogs within 16-14 of No. 11 Texas A&M.

As it turned out, that was plenty of time for Johnny Manziel to orchestrate a four-play, 75-yard touchdown drive. Manziel was 3 of 3 passing on the drive and also scrambled for 16-yards pushing the Aggies lead to 23-14 with 16-seconds to spare.

“Giving up the points before halftime was a huge momentum killer,” said MSU coach Dan Mullen. “It’s probably cost us a couple of wins this year .”

It was the fifth time an opponent has scored in the final 2:16 before halftime this season and the fourth to put up points with under a minute remaining.

“That’s really hurt us all season,” Mullen said. “We gave up a two-minute score against Auburn that cost us that game, one right before the half against LSU that was a huge momentum swing that ended up being a huge factor in that game and it was a factor in the Oklahoma State game giving up the long field goal at the end of the half and it was again today.”

MSU also surrendered field goals to Bowling Green and Kentucky in consecutive games to close out the first half. The Bulldogs managed to hold on in both of those games.

“Maybe that’s a coaching issue,” Mullen said. “I’m really going to have to study it – what we’re doing, how it’s working and why that appears to be our Achilles heel. If we go three-and-out on defense in those situations, I really don’t know what our record would be at this point.”

logan.lowery@journalinc.com