Thompson leads Mississippi State to win over Jackson and Louisville

JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 30: Keytaon Thompson #10 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs reacts after his third touchdown rush of the game to give his team the lead in the fourth quarter of the TaxSlayer Bowl against the Louisville Cardinals at EverBank Field on December 30, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida. The Bulldogs won 31-27. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Freshman Keytaon Thompson, making his first start in place of injured quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, ran for 147 yards and three touchdowns to help No. 24 Mississippi State beat Louisville and 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson 31-27 in the TaxSlayer Bowl on Saturday.

Thompson and Jackson provided many of the highlights _ and some lowlights.

Thompson scored twice in the fourth quarter, including a 1-yard plunge with 3:39 remaining that put the Bulldogs (9-4) ahead for good.

Jackson had the Cardinals (8-5) on the move late, but safety Mark McLaurin intercepted his third pass of the game. After a failed fourth-down conversation, Jackson got a final chance in the waning seconds, but his final desperation pass was batted away in the end zone.

Jackson completed 13 of 31 passes for 171 yards, with two touchdowns and four interceptions. He threw just six picks in the regular season.

He ran 24 times for 158 yards and a touchdown, breaking the TaxSlayer Bowl record for most rushing yards by a quarterback. West Virginia’s Pat White set the previous mark with 145 yards in 2007.

Jackson also was sacked six times.

He had the longest run of his career, a 75-yarder late in the second quarter, and a 13-yard TD scamper earlier in the game in which he split two defenders and made another look silly.

But his poor throws overshadowed his ankle-breaking runs.

And he probably ended his college career with a loss. Jackson has yet to declare for the NFL draft, but most outsiders believe the dynamic junior will turn pro.

If so, he went out setting more records. Jackson became the third player in Football Bowl Subdivision history with at least 50 touchdown passes and 50 touchdown runs, joining Florida’s Tim Tebow and Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick.

He also broke his record for rushing yards and yards from scrimmage in a season.

Thompson completed 11 of 20 passes for 127 yards. He ran 27 times, a clear part of interim coach Greg Knox’s game plan for the inexperienced starter.

It was the fourth time this season in the Football Bowl Subdivision that both starting quarterbacks topped 100 yards rushing.