Arkansas Holds Off Mississippi State for 31-28 Win On Missed Field Goal

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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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Written by Glenn Guilbeau

Guilbeau has been on the LSU beat since 1998 with multiple outlets in Louisiana, prior to that he had covered both Auburn and Alabama. He won first place for his game feature on LSU's upset at Florida last season from the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). He was also named Beat Writer of Year, by Louisiana Sports Writers Association in July; placed in three Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) categories – Beat Writer, Explanatory, Game Coverage – last spring. Guilbeau was also the FWAA first-place winner for columns in 2017 and was also the top overall winner in 2016 FWAA placing first for his game story, second in columns, and receiving honorable mention for features.

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