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Mississippi State falls to Iowa in Outback Bowl

The Bulldogs had a shot to win late but couldn’t overcome the Hawkeyes

Outback Bowl - Mississippi State v Iowa Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Nick Fitzgerald failed to connect on a 4th down pass to Farrod Green, and so concluded the Mississippi State Bulldogs’ season. The Bulldogs fell to the Iowa Hawkeyes 27-22 in the 2019 Outback Bowl, as Joe Moorhead’s first season ends with a whimper.

As has been the case all season seemingly, Iowa’s defense showed out. The Hawkeyes held State to 342 net total yards and just 4.5 yards per carry on the ground. It’s not as if State’s defense didn’t show out either. The Bulldogs omitted just 199 net total yards, -15 net rushing yards, but the Hawkeyes still were able to come out on top in the end.

There were two plays that turned the tide in the game for Iowa. The first came on a touchdown pass to Nick Easley late in the 3rd quarter from Nate Stanley. The second came in the early goings of the 4th quarter. Fitzgerald attempted to find a receiver in the end zone for what would’ve been a go-ahead score. But instead, the ball came out of his hands, and then fell into the arms of Jake Gervase who ran it back 28 yards. Iowa would wind up kicking a field goal to extend their lead to 27-22, which of course proved to be the final.

Fitzgerald threw for 152 yards and rushed for 103, and became the second player in program history to account for over 100 touchdowns in his career. He also tied both Chris Leak and Peyton Manning for sixth all time in touchdowns with 101. His passing touchdown went to Kylin Hill, who gained 43 yards on the ground and 12 receiving.

Stephen Guidry was the team’s leading receiver in yards with 51, which he got on one reception. Osirus Mitchell followed with 42 on two. Aeris Williams and the aforementioned Hill tied for the lead in receptions with three.

On defense, five players were credited with at least half a sack. Jeffery Simmons was the lone man to have one whole sack, while the four others picked up 0.5 sack. Those players were Montez Sweat, Chauncey Rivers, Willie Gay Jr. and Johnathan Abram. Gay Jr. also had an interception off Nate Stanley, as well.

Mississippi State now ends the season at 8-5. The Bulldogs had their moments of prosperity and also their moments of shrinkage. It’s sort of inconclusive, but Joe Moorhead’s first year with the Bulldogs certainly ended in lackluster fashion. Year 2 will be fascinating to watch.