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Mississippi State avoids upset against Louisiana Tech

The Bulldogs survived a scare to open the season

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

Thanks to the largest comeback in school history, the Mississippi State Bulldogs avoided an upset loss to the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, coming away with a 35-34 win Saturday in Starkville.

Things started off well enough for Mississippi State, as Will Rogers had a pair of first quarter passing touchdowns. The first one went to Jo’Quavious Marks on the goal line to cap off a seven play drive set up by a Tyrus Wheat interception. Later in the first quarter, Aaron Odom recovered a fumble in Louisiana Tech territory to set up another short field touchdown for Mississippi State, as Rogers found Jamire Calvin for a 20 yard strike to seemingly take a 14-0 lead into the second quarter.

Louisiana Tech came roaring back though, as the Bulldogs answered on their last play of the first quarter when Austin Kendall found Bub Means for a 72 yard touchdown. Then, early in the second quarter when quarterback Kendall broke free for a 59 yard touchdown to tie the game. Things kept getting worse for MSU, as Kendall found Smoke Harris for a 24 yard touchdown, and Louisiana Tech took a 21-14 lead into the half.

Louisiana Tech tacked on a field goal early in the third quarter, and then disaster struck. As MSU was attempting to put a drive together, Trey Baldwin intercepted a Will Rogers pass and took it for a touchdown to put Louisiana Tech up 31-14. They would add a field goal early in the fourth, and with 13 minutes to go, Mississippi State were down by 20 points to the 19-point underdogs on the other side of the field.

Suddenly, everything turned around. Lideatrick Griffin took the kickoff 70 yards to put Mississippi State in the red zone, and Marks scampered in for a touchdown two plays later to cut the lead to 13. After forcing a three and out, Mississippi State marched down the field again and Marks found the end zone yet again, from five yards out this time. Suddenly it was a six point game. Another three and out was answered by another MSU touchdown, as Rogers found Jaden Walley to give the Bulldogs the lead with 3:37 to go.

It wasn’t easy from there, though. Louisiana Tech put a drive together, including a big fourth down conversion, before coming down to a 46 yard field goal attempt for the win. Kicker Jacob Barnes seemed to either not get all of it, or Mississippi State deflected it at the line, as the kick landed short in the end zone and MSU came away with the win.

The Bulldogs remain in Starkville next week when they play host to the NC State Wolfpac