Arkansas used an unbelievable effort from its defense to stun 16th ranked Mississippi State in Starkville, 21-14 ending the schools’ SEC losing streak at 20 games. After throwing for over 600 yards and five touchdowns against LSU in the season opener, MSU quarterback K.J. Costello was limited to 313 yards passing with one touchdown and three interceptions.
Arkansas quarterback Feleipe Franks threw for 212 yards and was 20 of 28 passing with a pair of touchdown passes. He had no interceptions.
Mississippi State took the ball first and recorded a first down on the first play of the game, a Costello pass complete to Cameron Gardner for 12 yards. But the drive ended quickly when Costello was intercepted by Greg Brooks Jr. who returned it 69 yards for a pick six. Arkansas took the early 7-0 lead.
The Bulldogs responded, driving 75 yards in 15 plays to tie the game up on a 17 yard touchdown pass from Costello to JaVonta Payton.
Arkansas promptly went three and out on its first offensive possession and MSU set up shop again, this time on its own 18 after a George Caratan punt for 48 yards. This time the Hogs stopped the ‘Dogs offense just past midfield and Arkansas started its second possession at its own six yard line on the final play of the first quarter.
The Hogs got a big boost on 52 yard completion from Franks to De’Vion Warren but the drive ended with no points when K.J. Jefferson came on at quarterback after Rakeem Boyd left the game with an injury. Jefferson fumbled on 4th and goal at the MSU three yard line.
Arkansas’ defense came up with another stop, forcing the ‘Dogs to punt from the 23. The Razorbacks started their next possession on their 31 after Tucker Day punted for 45 yards. Arkansas needed eight plays to take the lead again. The big one, a 19 yard touchdown pass from Franks to Warren. With 5:27 left in the half it was Arkansas 14, Mississippi State 7.
Arkansas’ defense stepped up big again sending the Air Raid offense back to the bench after another three and out. The Razorbacks ended up punting from the MSU 36 into the end zone for a touchback. The two teams traded punts again and the clock ran out of the half.
Arkansas came out of the dressing room hot driving 75 yards in 11 plays. Treylen Smith, subbing for Boyd, recorded key first downs both running and catching the ball. Franks completed the drive, hooking up with Hudson Henry for a 12 yard touchdown pass and a 21-7 Arkansas lead.
The home team responded with a ball control drive of its own. Dillon Johnson capped a 76 yard drive with a six yard touchdown run closing Arkansas’ lead to 21-14.
Arkansas promptly went three and out with the ball sending the defense right back out on the field. But Joe Fouche grabbed his second pick of the game giving the Hogs the ball back new midfield. Once again Arkansas’ offense went three and out and once again the defense stepped up big stopping the Bulldogs twice, the big stop on a 4th and two at the Arkansas 13 after an MSU fumble recovery.
The offense sputtered to yet another three and out and after a punt the home team started another drive at the Arkansas 35. Again Barry Odom’s defense stepped up big, stopping Mississippi State on another 4th down play.
The offense suffered yet another three and out but a Cataran punt was fumbled by Jaden Walley at the Mississippi State 37 and recovered by Arkansas. The Hogs ran out the clock on Sam Pittman’s first win as a major college head coach.