No. 1 Mississippi State survives and advances with 17-10 win over Arkansas


The gap between the SEC’s only undefeated team and the league’s longest intra-conference losing streak proved to be not that big as No. 1 Mississippi State survived a scare with a 17-10 defeat of Arkansas Saturday night.

The Razorbacks’ final pass was into the end zone, as a potentially game-tying 66-yard drive ended with Will Redmond intercepting a Brandon Allen pass to seal the game with 15 seconds to go.

Consider that Arkansas put up 401 yards of total offense, out-rushed Mississippi State 163-128 (and by more than half a yard per carry) took a 10-0 lead in the second quarter and ended its last three drives with a missed field goal, a turnover on downs at the three-yard line, and Allen’s interception, and it’s another sign Bret Bielema has his program doing all the things that will one day lead to victories. It’s also yet another forehead-against-the-wall loss in a season full of them, as the Razorbacks drop to 4-5 overall and 0-5 in league play.

Mississippi State racked up yards – 465 of them, with its final seven non-end-of-half drives moving 44 yards or more – but didn’t click on all cylinders like it did in wins over LSU, Texas A&M and Auburn. Three turnovers (two Dak Prescott interceptions and a muffed punt) had a lot to do with that, plus a turnover on downs to open the second in half.

Prescott completed 18-of-27 passes for a career-high 331 yards, including a go-ahead 69-yard catch-and-run to Fred Ross with 13:21 to go in the fourth quarter. He also rushed 13 times for 61 yards. Josh Robinson continues to be this team’s engine, rushing 19 times for 64 yards and a three-yard touchdown while also leading the team with six grabs for 110 yards.

Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams combined for 31 carries for 140 yards and a touchdown, somehow getting a dozen fewer touches than Allen, who completed 22-of-43 passes for 238 yards and the game-ending interception. Prediction: the game Arkansas wins will be one where Allen doesn’t throw it 40 times. Hunter Henry continued to flash pro potential as a tight end with seven grabs for 110 yards.

Mississippi State moves to 8-0 and 5-0 in conference, taking a break from SEC play with Tennessee-Martin while also taking a peek ahead to Nov. 15’s opponent: Alabama.

Arkansas will take next week off before hosting LSU on Nov. 15.

Florida State’s third-leading receiver enters transfer portal

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Just a couple of days after officially taking over at Florida State, Mike Norvell has suffered his first personnel loss.

First reported by SEC Network‘s Cole Cubelic and subsequently confirmed by and others, Tre'Shaun Harrison has taken the first step in leaving the Seminoles by placing his name into the NCAA transfer database.  As one Alabama player did this week, Harrison could always opt to pull his name from the portal and remain at FSU.

Moving into the portal also gives other schools the opportunity to contact the wide receiver without receiving permission from FSU.

A four-star member of FSU’s 2018 recruiting class, Harrison was rated as the No. 2 player at any position in the state of Washington.

Harrison is currently third on the Seminoles with 289 yards on 27 receptions.  As a true freshman last season, he caught 10 passes for 66 yards and a touchdown, the first of his three scores with the ‘Noles.

Mississippi State RB Kylin Hill declares for draft, will play in Music City Bowl vs. Louisville

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There’s good news and bad news on the early-entry front for Mississippi State.

The bad? As expected, Kylin Hill announced via Twitter Thursday that, “after much prayer and discussion with my family… I will be forgoing my final season of eligibility and entering my name in the 2020 NFL Draft.”

The good? Hill confirmed that he will be playing in the Music City Bowl matchup versus Louisville Dec. 30.

Hill led the Bulldogs and the SEC this past season with 1,347 yards rushing and 10 rushing touchdowns on 235 carries.  He added 17 catches for 174 yards and another touchdown coming out of the backfield.

For his career, Hill totaled 2,474 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground, and another 473 and five through the air.

Joe Burrow wins Associated Press Player of the Year in a landslide

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Come Saturday evening, when the results coming out of New York City are made official, I suspect this won’t be the first time we string the words “Joe Burrow” and “wins in a landslide” in the same sentence.

The Associated Press Thursday announced its College Football Player of the Year and, to the surprise of no one, Burrow claimed yet another piece of postseason hardware.  There were 53 media members who voted for the AP award; 50 of them cast first-place votes for Burrow, helping give the LSU quarterback a total of 156 points.

The senior, who is now viewed by some as the likely No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, currently leads the nation in passing touchdowns with 48 and completion percentage at 77.9 percent; right now, the completion percentage would be an FBS record, surpassing the 76.7 percent put up by Texas’ Colt McCoy in 2008.  The Ohio State transfer is also second in the nation in passing yards (4,715) and passing efficiency (201.5).

Speaking of Ohio State, a pair of Buckeyes, defensive end Chase Young and quarterback Justin Fields, finished well behind Burrow in the voting.  Young, who was the only other player to receive first-place votes, totaled 29 points while Fields totaled 43.  Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts was fourth in the voting.

All four of those players mentioned, incidentally, were named as Heisman Trophy finalists earlier this week.

New USF HC Jeff Scott lands commitment from ex-South Carolina RB

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After a season away, Lavonte Valentine is back at the FBS level.

By way of his personal Twitter account Wednesday, Valentine announced that he has decided to transfer to South Florida and continue his collegiate playing career with the Bulls.  As Valentine, whose transfer from South Carolina was confirmed in August of this year, comes to USF from the NAIA level, he will be eligible to play immediately in 2020.

The move comes a couple of days after Clemson offensive coordinator Jeff Scott was named as the football program’s next head coach.

Coming out of high school in Melbourne, Fla., Valentine was a three-star member of South Carolina’s 2018 recruiting class, rated as the No. 18 all-purpose running back in the country.  In part because of a torn ACL suffered his senior season of high school that caused him to miss spring practice and fall behind on the depth chart, Valentine took a redshirt for his true freshman season.

Valentine did, though, run track for USC this past spring, and he told The State that he will run track and play football at USF.