Mississippi State’s running game, Jalen Hurts‘s arm and Calvin Ridley‘s legs have combined to put together a compelling night cap in the SEC, as the Bulldogs and Tide are tied at 14-14 at the half in Starkville.
Mississippi State utterly controlled the first quarter, but found itself locked in a 7-7 tie. The Bulldogs accepted the ball to open the game and clicked off 11 plays, moved the ball to the Alabama 41, killed the first half of the frame and then punted, pinning Alabama at its own 5.
The Bulldog defense forced a three-and-out, and its offense pushed its way down the field on a 6-play, 57-yard touchdown drive punctuated by an 11-yard Aeris Williams run.
On the ensuing possession, Mississippi State forced a 3rd-and-5, where a conversion would have given Mississippi State the ball with a 7-0 lead while Alabama’s offense ran a total of six plays over the first quarter. Instead, Hurts found Ridley for a 63-yard catch-and-run, and Hurts rushed in a 1-yard score two plays later.
The next two drives played out the same. Mississippi State strung together an 11-play, 73-yard drive again capped by a Williams run. And again Hurts and Ridley connected, this time for 61 yards. Josh Jacobs rushed in from a yard out two plays later, tying the game at 14-14 with 9:26 left in the second quarter.
Williams led all runners with 14 carries for 60 yards and two touchdowns. However, he left the game in the second quarter and did not return. Nick Fitzgerald nailed 6-of-10 passes for 73 yards and rushed 10 times for 34 yards. Hurts completed 4-of-7 passes for 151 yards, two of them to Ridley for 124 yards, while rushing seven times for 20 yards and a score.
Mississippi State has out-rushed Alabama, 101-40, ran 38 plays to Alabama’s 23 and possessed the ball for 14 minutes more than the Tide.
Alabama will receive to open the second half