Jeffery Pittman scored on a 29-yard reception on the first possession of overtime, and then Mississippi State stopped Arizona with the help of a replay review as the Bulldogs won 31-24 in a nonconference game Saturday night in Starkville, Miss.
Pittman put Mississippi State (2-0) up in overtime when he took a quick pass behind the line of scrimmage, broke a tackle and raced into the end zone. Arizona (1-1), which overcame five turnovers in regulation, faced fourth-and-10 at the 25 when quarterback Jayden de Laura was chased backward before taking off on a sprint downfield.
He was taken down near the marker, with the ball spotted on the 15, but replay showed his elbow down before the ball reached the line to gain.
That ended a wild game in which de Laura passed for 342 yards and two touchdowns but was intercepted four times, including three in the first quarter.
Mississippi State, transitioning from the Air Raid offense to a ground-based pro-style attack, was outgained 431 to 307. Will Rogers completed 13 of 17 passes for 162 yards and three touchdowns. Jo’quavious Marks ran for 123 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries.
Arizona, which trailed 14-0 in the first quarter, tied the game at 21 with 9:14 left in the game when de Laura hit Tetairoa McMillan (eight catches, 161 yards) on an 11-yard pass.
Mississippi State answered with a 36-yard field goal by Kyle Ferrie to take a 24-21 lead with 6:47 to go.
The Wildcats sent the game into overtime with Tyler Loop’s 36-yard field goal with five seconds remaining.
Mississippi State forced four turnovers in the first half but managed only a 14-7 halftime lead.
The Bulldogs fumbled into the end zone on fourth-and-4 on the first drive of the game, and then missed a 41-yard field goal with 40 seconds left before half. That opened the door for Arizona, which connected on a 55-yard pass to McMillan to set up a wild touchdown.
Lining up at the 1 with 12 seconds left and no timeouts remaining, de Laura faked a spike and then squeezed between two linemen, barely pushing across the goal line in the middle of a scrum. Coach Jedd Fisch, in a halftime interview, said de Laura’s play was unplanned.
–Field Level Media