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Mississippi State rallies for win at UMass

Mississippi State University

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Aeris Williams ran for a 16-yard touchdown and Jamoral Graham returned an interception 38 yards for a score on the next play from scrimmage to help Mississippi State erase a third-quarter deficit and beat Massachusetts 47-35 on Saturday.

The two scores 17 seconds apart were followed four minutes later by a 13-yard touchdown pass from Nick Fitzgerald to Farrod Green that made it 41-21 just before the end of the third quarter.

Fitzgerald completed 25 of 38 passes for 299 yards and three touchdowns, and he also ran for 110 yards for the Bulldogs (2-2). Fred Ross caught eight passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns for Mississippi State, which once again struggled to play well for two halves in a row.

Andrew Ford, making his second start for the injured Ross Comis, completed 24 of 40 passes for 273 yards and four touchdowns for UMass (1-3). But he also overthrew his receiver on the first play after Mississippi State’s go-ahead touchdown, and Graham was there to make it 34-21.

UMass failed to move on its next possession and punted it back to the Bulldogs, who took over on their own 39-yard line. Fitzgerald went 3 for 3 on the drive and also added a 15-yard run as Mississippi State converted its third touchdown in 4 minutes, 11 seconds.

The Bulldogs are coming off a loss to then-No. 20 LSU in which they rallied from a 20-0 deficit only to lose 23-20. They also led South Alabama 17-0 at halftime in their opener but lost 21-20. Against South Carolina, Mississippi State led 24-0 at halftime before holding on for a 27-14 win.

Marquis Young ran for 125 yards, including an 83-yard touchdown in the first quarter that gave UMass a 7-3 lead. Jalen Williams caught two touchdown passes, and Bernard Davis and Sadiq Palmer each had one for the Minutemen.