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UMass vs. Mississippi State recap: Bulldogs hold off Minutemen in Starkville

The Bulldogs got the job done.

NCAA Football: Massachusetts at Mississippi State Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

I have a suggestion for the University of Massachusetts.

Switch your football team’s name from the Minutemen to the Thirty Three Minutemen, because for 33 minutes on Saturday afternoon in Starkville, UMass was better than Mississippi State.

The Bulldogs ultimately prevailed for the 34-23 victory, but it was never comfortable until the very end.

Nick Fitzgerald struggled passing the ball, going 14-25 for just 139 yards and throwing two interceptions. He made up for it with his legs, picking up 135 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 17 attempts.

Fitzgerald and Aeris Williams were essentially the entire offense for the Bulldogs, as the two combined for 249 of the 393 total yards gained on the day.

UMass wide receiver Andy Isabella was a monster, hauling in seven receptions for 158 yards, including a 69-yard touchdown late in the first half.

The second half was a wakeup call for the Bulldogs, as Fitzgerald took charge and ran more, recording both of his touchdowns in the third quarter. The defense stepped up and only allowed three points, and Deddrick Thomas sealed the game with an 83 yard punt return touchdown.

The Bulldogs are now 7-2 with Alabama and Arkansas looming before the Egg Bowl.