By Logan Lowery
AUBURN, Ala. – The Mississippi State-Auburn rivalry held true to form Saturday night.
The SEC West rivals played another nail-biter, with the Tigers edging MSU 24-20 with 10 seconds remaining.
Auburn junior quarterback Nick Marshall connected on 6 of 8 passes on the final drive, moving 88 yards in a dozen plays, and connected with C.J. Uzomah from 11 yards out for the game winner.
It was the fourth time in the last six years that the game has come down to the final drive.
“Give Auburn credit, their kids made plays to win the game and we didn’t,” said MSU coach Dan Mullen. “We didn’t make the right calls as coaches to put our kids in the right situations to make plays to win the game.”
The Tigers improved to 3-0 on the year after totaling 459 yards including 339 through the air.
Marshall finished 23 of 34 passing for a career-high 339 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Corey Grant was the leading rusher for AU with 44 yards on eight carries. Marcus Davis made six catches for 43 yards and Quan Bray made three grabs for 80 yards and touchdown.
Auburn opens scoring
Auburn put up points on the opening drive of the game. The Tigers methodically moved down the field on an 11-play drive but Benardrick McKinney came up with a crucial third down sack holding AU to a 40-yard field goal from Cody Parkey.
The Tigers were able to divert disaster into a touchdown on its next drive. Marshall bobbled a third down snap and then found a wide open Bray streaking down the sideline for a 76-yard touchdown. Auburn faked the point after into a two-point conversion on a pass from Ryan White to Brandon Fulse to go up 11-0.
But the Bulldogs would answer into only two plays. Dak Prescott connected with Robert Johnson on a 61-yard completion and Jameon Lewis could score on a 14-yard end around on the next play.
Parkey added a 19-yard field goal to start the second quarter pushing the Tigers lead to 14-6.
Midway through the quarter, Prescott led the Bulldogs on an 11-play, 84 yard drive and plowed into the end zone himself on a 5-yard run to pull within 14-13.
Prescott was able to keep the momentum going on the opening drive of the second half. Two plays after a 47-yard run, Prescott banged across the goal line for a 2-yard touchdown giving Mississippi State its first lead.
On the Tigers’ initial drive of the third quarter, Marshall completed a 37-yard pass to himself to set up a 47-yard field goal by Parkey to pull AU within 20-17.
MSU would hold onto the lead until the Tigers’ final drive.
The Bulldogs (1-2) ended the day with 415 yards showing a balanced attack of 213 passing yards and 202 rushing yards.
Prescott finished 15 of 28 for 213 yards passing and also rushed 22 times for 133 yards and two touchdowns.
“I thought I did good but it never feels good and I’m not satisfied with a loss,” Prescott said.
Malcolm Johnson led State with four receptions for 84 yards.
Mississippi State hosts Troy on Saturday.