STARKVILLE, MS (WBRC) - The Auburn Tigers scored early, not often, but enough to defeat the Mississippi State Bulldogs in a hard-fought western conference showdown Thursday night.
Auburn defeated Mississippi State 17-14, even though the Tigers did not score in the second half.
Auburn began the scoring on the night. Quarterback Cam Newton threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Emory Blake for a touchdown, wrapping up an eight-play, 68-yard opening drive.
Mississippi State responded later in the quarter, when Gabe Jackson fell on the ball in the endzone after quarterback Chris Relf fumbled the ball on the goal line as he was attempting to run the ball into the endzone.
Auburn scored twice in the second quarter: a 12-yard touchdown pass from Cam Newton to Darvin Adams and a 34-yard field goal by Wes Byrum. Mississippi State did not score in the second half.
Both teams had two turnovers in the first half, resulting in a touchdown for each team.
Mississippi State opened the second half, driving 63 yards in 12 plays over six minutes, ending the drive with a one-yard touchdown rush by Vick Ballard. It was the only score by either team in the third quarter.
Late in the fourth quarter, Wes Byrum attempted a 37-yard field goal, but it was blocked. Mississippi State took over the ball with just more than two minutes left in the game and drove 39 yards, but turned the ball over on downs with 19 seconds left in the game, sealing Auburn's victory.
Auburn ended the night with 21 first downs, 349 total yards of offense, 191 of which was rushing and 158 was passing. The Tigers had possession of the ball for 31:50, turned it over two times, and was penalized four times for 35 yards.
Mississippi State made 16 first downs, 246 total yards of offense, 117 of which was rushing and 129 was passing. The Bulldogs had possession of the ball for 28:10, turned it over two times, and was penalized two times for 25 yards.
More than 55,000 fans were in attendance at Davis Wade Stadium in a game televised nationally on ESPN, making it one of the largest crowds ever to see a Mississippi State football game in Starkville.
Auburn, 2-0, will play its next game Sept. 18 at home against Clemson. Mississippi State, 1-1, will play its next game Sept. 18 at LSU in Baton Rouge.
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