Mississippi State made a quarterback change for the Arkansas game and it paid huge dividends. Tommy Stevens ran and passed the Bulldogs to a big early lead as the hapless Razorbacks fell to 2-7 on the season after a 54-24 loss.
Mississippi State struck quickly behind SEC leading rusher Kylin Hill who went 62 yards to the Ark three yard line on the opening possession of the game. He followed that with a short touchdown run for a 7-0 Bulldogs lead.
After a 22 yard run by Rakeem Boyd on Arkansas’ first play from scrimmage the Hogs offense promptly went three and out. With his job back as starting quarterback, Ben Hicks misfired on two of three passes before Arkansas punted it back to the Bulldogs.
MSU went to the air for its second touchdown of the game, a perfect 33 yard Stevens pass to Osirus Mitchell for a 14-0 lead.
Again the Hogs went three and out on a pair of one yard runs and an incomplete pass but early in the 2nd quarter Arkansas’ defense finally managed a stop of sorts, forcing the visitors into a short field goal as the lead increased to 17-0.
Again Arkansas was forced to punt without recording a first down but that punt pinned the Bulldogs at their own eight yard line and for the first time in the game MSU failed to make a first down on a possession.
A 50 yard punt started the Hogs on their own 39 but after a 9 yard completion from Hicks to Trey Knox, Rakeem Boyd took off on a 52 yard touchdown gallop around the right side of the MSU defense closing the score to 17-7.
It didn’t stay that way for long. The Bulldogs cranked up their offense again, going 75 yards in just six plays. Hill made it 24-7 with a three yard touchdown run.
Arkansas caught a break later when Malik Dear fumbled a Sam Loy punt and the Hogs were in business at the ‘Dogs 22. But after a near interception thown by Hicks, Connor Limpert came on to boot a 40 yard field goal and the score narrowed to 24-10.
But once again the Arkansas defense caved as Hill struck again, going 58 yards to the Ark 26. Four plays later he scored on a 1 yard run. The visitors lead grew to 31-10.
The drubbing went from bad to worse as Hicks promptly threw a 32 yard pick-six to Marcus Murphy for a 38-10 MSU lead.
John Stephen Jones entered the game at quarterback at that point to no effect as the Hogs again went three and out for a halftime score of 38-10.
Arkansas’ offense went three and coming out of the dressing room and MSU needed just six plays to go 66 yards for a 45-10 lead.
The offense then clicked behind Jones, moving 59 yards in 12 plays with Jones hitting Mike Woods with a 12 yard touchdown pass. MSU’s lead was down to 45-17.
But the Bulldogs went on another long scoring drive, pushing the lead to 48-17 with a 46 yard field goal.
The crowd came alive at that point as heralded freshman quarterback K.J. Jefferson came onto the playing field for the first time. He did not disappoint. Jefferson took Arkansas 75 yards in just four plays including a 21 yard run and a 32 yard pass to Treylon Burks. Jefferson ran the ball in from five yards out bringing the score to 48-24.
The joy was short lived. The visitors scored again, this time on a 47 yard run by backup running back Nick Gibson. A two point conversion failed and the lead grew to 54-24, the final score of the game.