Just when you thought Mississippi State was sliding and Texas A&M was ascending, the two maroon-clad teams decided to prove that things are just as difficult to as ever to sort out in the SEC West.
In a game that was awfully hard to watch as the result of a pair of offenses that couldn’t do much, Bulldogs quarterback Nick Fitzgerald was able to find the end zone just enough to secure a 35-14 win that makes his team bowl eligible and likely ranked in the top 25 heading into next week.
The signal-caller was once leading the way for MSU using both his arm and his legs, completing 12 passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for a team-high 105 yards and a score on the ground. Things would have been a bit easier for Dan Mullen’s side had Fitzgerald not been sacked twice (he also tossed an interception on the first drive of the game) and pressured constantly but beggars can’t be choosers given how hard yards and points were to come by most of the night at Kyle Field.
Running back Aeris Williams also added 68 yards rushing but was mostly bottled up by a solid Aggies front seven.
Speaking of the home team, things were rough from the opening few drives as A&M couldn’t even crack 50 yards by halftime and needed plenty of help to get over the 200 mark for the game. Young quarterback Kellen Mond was 8-of-26 for just 56 yards and threw two interceptions. He was benched in the fourth quarter for former starter Nick Starkel, but he too ended up tossing an interception (that went the other way for six) before rallying to toss a 70 yard touchdown to Camron Buckley.
Given that the team was coming off a bye, the unimpressive effort will likely do nothing but fan the flames of head coach Kevin Sumlin’s hot seat ahead of another tough November slate.
The flip side is that Mullen’s Bulldogs are suddenly winners of three straight and enter a stretch where it’s not out of the question that they could wind up with nine victories on the year. A visit by Alabama does loom large in two weeks down in Starkville but given how closely the Aggies played the Tide earlier in the season, maybe MSU has a pretty good claim as to being the second best team in the mighty SEC West once again.