Wildcats Fall in OT at Mississippi State, 31-24
STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) - Mississippi State forced five Arizona turnovers but had to rally in overtime on Saturday night to earn a 31-24 victory.
Jeffery Pittman caught a screen pass, bounced off a tackler and raced 29 yards for the go-ahead score and the Bulldog defense got a stop in the final possession to seal the win.
The game ended with Arizona quarterback Jayden de Laura stopped inches short of a first down on a 4th-and-10 scramble.
Interceptions from Bookie Watson, Jett Johnson and Shawn Preston started the first three Mississippi State defensive possessions and the Bulldogs turned two of the three turnovers into touchdowns. Another turnover came inside the red zone for Arizona as Preston knocked a ball loose and Hunter Washington scooped it up. Johnson got another interception in the fourth quarter.
Despite that dominance on the defensive side of the ball, the Bulldogs never fully secured the game until the final stop. The Wildcats trailed 14-7 at the half after scoring on a 1 yard plunge with 2 seconds left. Arizona tied the game at 21 in the fourth quarter with an 11-yard touchdown from de Laura to Tetairoa McMillan.
Arizona was able to hit a 36-yard field goal by Tyler Loop to send the game to overtime.
The Bulldogs (2-0) were out-gained 431-307 in the win. Will Rogers was 13-of-17 for 162 yards and three touchdowns and the offense ran for 145 yards on 39 carries. Woody Marks finished with 24 carries for 123 yards and a touchdown, his second-straight 100-yard game after failing to record such a game his previous three years.
de Laura overcame those four interceptions to keep the Wildcats in the game. The senior was 32-of-46 for 342 yards and two scores and rushed eight times for 44 yards.Arizona running back Michael Wiley finished with 33 yards on the ground and eight catches for 60 yards in the game. Wide receiver Jacob Cowing caught seven passes for 31 yards and a touchdown. Defensively for Arizona, Jacob Manu and Ta’ita’i Uiagalelei both collected sacks and Manu tied with Justin Flowe for the team lead in tackles with 12.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs play calling in the game left much to be desired as they stayed with the run game despite stalling regularly. Equally, the defense gave up huge plays. In the end, the Bulldogs won the game and stayed undefeated with a huge game next week to start SEC play.
Arizona: The Wildcats nearly avenged a 39-17 loss to the Bulldogs in Tucson last year. It showed the continued progress of Jedd Fisch and the Wildcats after the team went from one win in 2022 to 5-7 last year.
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