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Mississippi State 45, Arkansas 14: The John L. Smith Era Officially Has Six More Days

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Arkansas completely folds to ensure it won't go to a bowl game, and Mississippi State is one step closer to a nine-win season

US PRESSWIRE

There was a point in this game in which it wasn't insane to think that Arkansas might win. In fact, there was a point in this game in which the advantage seemed to belong to the Razorbacks. They scored 14 unanswered points at the end of the first quarter and end of the second quarter to take a lead, and it seemed for all the world like the visitors had the momentum.

It was the last time Arkansas would look like a threat. Mississippi State reeled off 38 straight points to turn the game into an annihilation. Arkansas gave the Western Division Bulldogs plenty of help that they didn't need, turning the ball over five times and throwing in nine penalties for 70 yards for the heck of it.

The game officially eliminates Arkansas from bowl contention and wipes out any remaining scintilla of a chance that John L. Smith will remain in Fayetteville next season. His last game as head coach at Arkansas is Friday, whether the university bothers to make it official or not.

For Mississippi State, it adds to a collection of nice wins and gives them a bit of a boost headed to Oxford next week for the Egg Bowl. Nine wins might not buy the kind of bowl berth it used to -- Georgia, Florida, Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M and South Carolina are all already at 10 wins or have a chance to get there -- but it will still be a good bit better than most of us were expecting.