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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

    Goal line stand dooms Dawgs’ upset bid

    Coming up inches short of victory on Saturday, Mississippi State was unable to score enough points to win; but with two touchdowns, senior Anthony Dixon became Mississippi State’s all-time leading scorer with 222 points, passing former kicker Brian Hazelwood.
    Dixon said he was disappointed in the loss, but the record is important to him and nothing short of what he wanted to accomplish at MSU.
    “It means a lot because I set out to be the best when I first signed the dotted line to come here. I’m achieving that,” he said.
    With 106 yards on the afternoon, Dixon now has 2,925 career rushing yards, passing Walter Packer for second all-time at MSU. His 27 carries move him to 10th place in SEC history in career rushes with 721, just six shy of ninth place. His two touchdowns extend his school record for rushing touchdowns to 33.
    Dixon had a career day both on the field and in the record books, but he said this was still the hardest loss he has been a part of.
    “This is No. 1,” he said. “It’s the toughest loss I’ve ever had to swallow right here.”
    Louisiana State scored 30 points despite being held to 30 yards rushing and converting only two of 13 third downs. The offense was led by quarterback Jordan Jefferson who passed for two touchdowns and 233 yards, with passes of 39, 40 and 58 yards.
    MSU head coach Dan Mullen said the defense played well with the exception of those three plays.
    “That’s 140 of his 233 yards on three plays,” he said. “That’s 90 yards on the rest of his plays. They [the defense] did a great job to hold them to 30 yards rushing. – an amazing job by our defense. Those kids played their hearts out.”
    LSU opened scoring when Patrick Peterson intercepted a Tyson Lee pass and returned it 37 yards for a touchdown on MSU’s first offensive play of the game. Mississippi State answered back with a drive ending in two-yard touchdown run by Dixon.
    The Dawgs and Tigers continued to alternate scoring for the rest of the half, as LSU scored on a four-yard pass from Jefferson with four minutes left in the first quarter, and Dixon punched in his second touchdown on a one-yard run with 41 seconds to go in the first. LSU scored the final points of the half on a 22-yard field goal after an MSU fumble.
    The back-and-forth continued in the second half as LSU and MSU both scored on 50+ yard touchdown passes in the third quarter. LSU scored on a 93-yard punt return at the beginning of the fourth quarter, to which MSU responded with a field goal by Sean Brauchle.
    The Bulldogs’ best shot at victory came after an 18-yard Dixon run late in the fourth quarter set MSU up with first and goal on the 2-yard line. In two tries Dixon came up inches short of the end zone.
    Dixon said he needed one more run and he could have scored.
    “I would definitely think I needed one more opportunity and I was going to get in there,” he said.
    However, Dixon never got that opportunity. On third down, Dixon faked the run and Lee passed to an open Marcus Green in the end zone. But Mullen said the play just barely failed.
    “We thought we had them set up,” he said. “We had a guy standing all by himself. It was a jump pass and we just didn’t get him [Lee] to jump high enough, and their kid made a heck of a play to tip the ball.”
    On fourth down, with just over one minute left in the game, Lee tried to punch the ball in one last time on an option play, but he could not convert. Mullen said the play did not go exactly as planned.
    “The three previous plays they had pinched everyone inside so we figured we would pitch the ball to Anthony on the outside like we did on a play where we scored earlier in the game,” he said.
    “Tyson saw a gap and tried to take it so we didn’t get the ball pitched. He has that option, we just didn’t push hard enough to get the ball in the end zone.”
    Mullen said there is nothing good in losing, but Dixon said he thinks the Bulldogs have much they can learn from the close loss to a top-10 team.
    “We can take away a lot of things,” he said. “We did some good things. We ran the ball good. We threw the ball good at times. Our defense played good. So you know we’re going to take all that back with us and go to the drawing board.”

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    Goal line stand dooms Dawgs’ upset bid