Rapid Reaction: Mississippi State falls at home as Kansas State wins wild one from Starkville
Man, if only every college football game could be as exciting as the game we witnessed Saturday afternoon in Starkville between Mississippi State and Kansas State.
Just when you thought you had this game figured out, it went another direction as the swings of momentum in his game were incredible for four quarters with Kansas State coming out on top in the end, 31-24 over Mississippi State from Starkville.
The game was exciting from the start as Mississippi State stuffed Kansas State on a 4th and short on the Wildcats’ first possession of the game that allowed the Bulldogs to keep the Hail State crowd engaged early in Starkville. After Bob Shoops’ defense took the early momentum, Tommy Stevens and the offense gave it right back with the team’s first turnover of the game with an interception.
While Tommy Stevens had some moments in this game, Mississippi State’s starting quarterback is clearly still hampered by injury. Early in the first quarter, Stevens threw his first interception of the season, which led to a field goal for Kansas State.
Stevens started the day completing only three of his first seven passes for 36 yards. He finished seven of 15 for 100 yards with one touchdown, two interceptions and a lost fumble, before he was replaced in the lineup.
The ground game wasn’t doing much either for the Bulldogs, as Kylin Hill finished with 106 yards on 24 carries on the day. The team finished with 181 total rushing yards on 42 attempts.
Kansas State then jumped out to a 10-0 lead and forced Mississippi State to go three-and-out before the Wildcats muffed the ensuing punt and coughed the ball up. The Bulldogs turned around and scored a touchdown on the following possession to cut KSU’s lead to three.
Not long after that, however, Stevens appeared to just drop the football and hand it right back to Kansas State. The Wildcats then marched down the field for a score. You can see Stevens’ lost fumble below:
Ball slips out of Tommy Stevens hand, Daniel Green recovers for K-State! pic.twitter.com/2d87anMJBU
— #BOOMIN (@ftbeard_17) September 14, 2019
Just when Kansas State had all the momentum in the game, a dumb penalty by the Wildcats gave Mississippi State life just before half, as Stevens threw a perfect ball to Osirus Mitchell with nine seconds remaining to cut KSU’s lead to three at the break.
Check out this throw by Stevens:
Tommy Stevens ➡️ Osirus Mitchell
What a throw, what a catch for the Bulldogs. pic.twitter.com/edIizUFiEr
— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) September 14, 2019
As hard as it may be to imagine after that throw, Stevens was benched early in the second half after throwing his second interception of the game. Instead of running veteran Keytaon Thompson out there, Moorhead elected to hand the keys to the offense over to true freshman Garrett Shrader.
Shrader finished the game completing four of 12 passes for 51 yards while rushing for 82 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown.
The freshman then came in and marched Mississippi State down the field for a score to take the lead in the game. Mississippi State then took a seven-point lead in the game thanks to a 47-yard field goal from Jace Christmann but the Bulldogs turned right around and gave up a kickoff return touchdown that tied the game back up.
Following the kickoff score, Kansas State stole back the momentum and capitalized by scoring on their next possession to go up 31-24 on Saturday. That score proved to be the difference, as Mississippi State failed to match that final touchdown to close out the game.
The game came down to a 4th and 16 for Mississippi State. Instead of attempting a pass down the field, Shrader took off and attempted to pick up the first down with his legs. While he failed to do so, it certainly wasn’t from a lack of effort.
Check out the amazing effort here from the freshman:
A+ for effort pic.twitter.com/j2g57mHakB
— Cam Mellor (@PFF_Cam) September 14, 2019
With this loss, Mississippi State falls to 2-1 on the season with SEC play beginning next weekend with Kentucky traveling to Starkville.