The No. 19 Mississippi State Bulldogs fought off a comeback attempt by Tennessee, winning 41-31 at Davis Wade Stadium on Saturday night.
The Bulldogs would take an early 17-7 lead in the second quarter after a Dak Prescott 13-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Green. After the Volunteers answered immediately with a 63-yard kickoff return by Cordarrelle Patterson, the Bulldogs scored 10 unanswered points to take a 27-10 lead into halftime.
The Volunteers pulled to within 27-24 in the third quarter thanks to a Michael Palardy 38-yard field goal and a Tyler Bray touchdown pass to Patterson, but the Bulldogs would pull away once more thanks to a Derrin Young fumble deep in Tennessee territory. The Bulldogs would score just three plays later, taking a commanding 34-24 lead with just eight minutes remaining in regulation.
After Tennessee would close to within 34-31, the Bulldogs marched down the field and killed the final five minutes of regulation by capping a 75-yard drive with a Tyler Russell touchdown pass to Malcolm Johnson.
Box Score Hero: Mississippi State quarterback Tyler Russell was 23-of-37 for 291 yards and two touchdowns in a balanced offensive attack by the Bulldogs.
Rankings Ramifications: Mississippi State could move up a few spots, especially considering the struggles of a few teams in front of them.
But Did They Cover? The late touchdown helped the Bulldogs cover the 3-point line.
For More On This Game: For more on Vols football, visit Tennessee blog Rocky Top Talk, plus SEC blog Team Speed Kills. For more on Bulldogs football, visit Mississippi State blog For Whom The Cowbell Tolls, plus SEC blog Team Speed Kills.
Next Week's Schedule: Tennessee welcomes No. 1 Alabama on Saturday, with kickoff time yet to be determined. Mississippi State takes on Middle Tennessee, with kickoff slated for 7 p.m. ET.