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Arkansas benefitted from three missed field goals by Mississippi State, including one from 40 yards out by Nolan McCord as time ran out, for a 31-28 victory in front of 76,000 at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville Saturday.
The win snapped a three-game SEC losing streak and sends the Razorbacks (6-3, 2-3 SEC) into the postseason.
“We’re going to some bowl,” Arkansas coach Sam Pittman said on the SEC Network after the game. “We don’t know what, but Arkansas is going to a bowl.”
Arkansas last played in the postseason in the 2016 season, losing 35-24 to Virginia Tech in the Belk Bowl.
The sixth win makes the Hogs bowl eligible with three games to play, beginning Saturday at LSU at 6:30 p.m. on the SEC Network. Mississippi State dropped to 5-4 and 3-3.
Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson completed 19 of 23 passes for 191 yards and a touchdown. He also took the Hogs on a last-minute, 75-yard drive in 10 plays for the game winner – a 4-yard touchdown run by tailback Dominique Johnson with 21 seconds to play for a 29-28 lead. Pittman went for two, and Johnson scored on a 2-yard run for the 31-28 final. Johnson finished with 107 yards on 17 carries.
“We made it interesting didn’t we? We feel so honored to be able to win the game,” Pittman said.
Regular Mississippi State kicker Brandon Ruiz missed a 23-yard field goal in the second quarter and a 46-yard attempt in the third quarter and was replaced by McCord. Arkansas kicker Cam Little gave Arkansas a 16-14 lead in the second quarter with a 51-yard field goal and booted 46- and 48-yard field goals in the first quarter as the Hogs took a 13-0 lead.
Little and Ruiz consoled McCord after the miss at game’s end.
Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers hit 36 of 48 passes for 417 yards and four touchdowns with an interception. His 15-yard touchdown pass to Jo’Quavious Marks gave State a 28-23 lead with 2:22 to play in the game.
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