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GAMEDAY College Football

ReliaQuest Bowl: Mississippi State 19, Illinois 10

(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

By MARK DIDTLER
Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. - Massimo Biscardi made a 27-yard tiebreaking field goal with four seconds left, Marcus Banks returned a fumble 60 yards for a touchdown on the game's last play and No. 24 Mississippi State rallied to beat Illinois 19-10 in the ReliaQuest Bowl in the Bulldogs' first game since coach Mike Leach's death.

Banks' score came on Illinois' fifth lateral following a completed pass after the Fighting Ilini got the ball at their own 29. There was a scrum on the field as the game ended, but order was restored after a couple of minutes.

Will Rogers was 29 of 44 yards for 261 yards and one touchdown for Mississippi State (9-4, No. 22 CFP).

Tommy DeVito completed 23 of 34 passes for 253 yards for Illinois (8-5).

Reggie Love III rushed for 53 yards on 12 carries for Illinois. Fighting Illini running back Chase Brown, the nation's second-leading rusher in the regular season with 1,643 yards, sat out to prepare for the NFL draft.

Mississippi State was held without a touchdown until the first play of the fourth quarter, when Rogers connected on an eight-yard throw to Justin Robinson that tied the game at 10.

The Bulldogs averaged 32.7 points during the regular season.

Illinois, which entered allowing 12.3 points and held six opponents to under 10 points, played without defensive backs Devon Witherspoon and Sydney Brown. Both opted out ahead of the NFL draft.

DeVito put Illinois up 7-0 on a two-yard run with 2:49 left in the second quarter.

Mississippi State responded with a 38-yard field goal by Biscardi with nine seconds to go in the first half.

IIlinois went up 10-3 on a 52-yard field goal by Caleb Griffin midway through the third.

Mississippi State was limited to 50 yards on its first three possessions, while the next two ended on interceptions by Matthew Bailey and Kendall Smith.

Illinois tops the nation with 24 interceptions.

HONORING MIKE

Among the tributes to Leach, who died on Dec. 12 due to complications from a heart condition, was "MIKE" with a pirate logo as part of the "I" painted between the 20 and 30 on one segment of the field.

The Mississippi State band spelled out "LEACH" before a moment of silence was held before the game.

The Bulldogs had a pirate flag instead of the school logo on their helmets. Illinois' helmet had a logo similar to what was painted on the field.

Leach's nickname was "The Pirate."

January 2, 2023


Scoring Summary
Second Quarter MissStIll
Ill TD 2:49 Tommy DeVito 2 yd run (Caleb Griffin kick) 0 7
MissSt FG 0:09 Massimo Biscardi 38 yd FG 3 7
Third Quarter MissStIll
Ill FG 6:57 Caleb Griffin 52 yd FG 3 10
Fourth Quarter MissStIll
MissSt TD 14:54 Justin Robinson 8 yd pass from Will Rogers (Massimo Biscardi kick) 10 10
MissSt FG 0:04 Massimo Biscardi 27 yd FG 13 10
MissSt TD 0:00 Marcus Banks 60 yd fumble return 19 10
Team Stats
  Mississippi State Illinois
First downs 21 19
  Rushing 4 7
  Passing 17 9
  Penalty 0 3
3rd Down Efficiency 6-14, 43% 3-11, 27%
4th down efficiency 1-1, 100% 0-0, -%
Rushes-Yards 22-116 28-22
Passing Yards 274 253
Return Yards 10 97
Completions-Attempts-Int 30-45-2 23-34-0
Sacks-Yards Lost 0-0 7--38
Punts 5 6
Punts-Average 42 47.7
Fumbles Lost 1-0 1-1
Penalties - Yards 6-55 3-25
Time of Possession 28:15 31:43
Mississippi State Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
W. Rogers 29 44 261 1 2
J. Walley 1 1 13 0 0
Illinois Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
T. DeVito 23 34 253 0 0
Mississippi State Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
S. Price 7 68 9.7 0
J. Marks 10 50 5.0 0
W. Rogers 3 7 2.3 0
Illinois Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
R. Love III 11 40 3.6 0
J. McCray 7 17 2.4 0
T. DeVito 10 -35 -3.5 1
Mississippi State Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
J. Robinson 7 81 11.6 1
L. Griffin 5 53 10.6 0
J. Walley 5 43 8.6 0
R. Harvey 3 33 11.0 0
A. Williams 2 22 11.0 0
J. Marks 3 14 4.7 0
W. Rogers 1 13 13.0 0
C. Ducking 2 10 5.0 0
S. Price 1 5 5.0 0
J. Jernighan 1 0 0.0
0
Illinois Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
I. Williams 9 114 12.7 0
C. Washington 8 74 9.3 0
T. Reiman 2 18 9.0 0
G. Moore 1 17 17.0 0
T. DeVito 0 13 0.0
0
M. Marchese 2 10 5.0 0
R. Love III 1 7 7.0 0
Mississippi State Interceptions
Player Int Yards
Illinois Interceptions
Player Int Yards
M. Bailey 1 17
K. Smith 1 0
Mississippi State Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
G. Georgopoulos 5 210 42.0
Illinois Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
H. Robertson 6 286 47.7
Mississippi State Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
L. Griffin 2 10 5.0
Illinois Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
I. Williams 1 8 8.0
H. Beatty 1 2 2.0
Mississippi State Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
Illinois Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
P. Bryant 2 37 18.5
R. Love III 1 30 30.0
T. Reiman 1 3 3.0
Mississippi State Missed FG
Player Length
Illinois Missed FG
Player Length
C. Griffin 52




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