GAMEDAY College Football

Mississippi State 42, Texas A&M 24

(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Associated Press

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Offensive opportunities were there for the taking by No. 17 Texas A&M. Mississippi State's defense was also there to deny the Aggies at almost every turn.

The Bulldogs forced A&M into four turnovers, including three inside the red zone, and took advantage in a 42-24 victory.

Decamerion Richardson scooped up Emmanuel Forbes' critical third-quarter field goal block and returned it 50 yards for the touchdown to give the Bulldogs a 21-3 lead. The Aggies (3-2, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) got no closer than 11 as MSU's defense denied A&M inside the 20 all game long with big plays.

"We've been practicing all week and when I got my chance, I just took advantage of it and blocked it," Forbes said. "It was a real big momentum change. The offense had just got a turnover and we had to pick them up and we did that.

"I saw (Richardson) pick it up and I just wanted to go have fun with him in the end zone. I'd do anything to help my brother out."

The first takeaway came early in the second quarter when Devon Achane fumbled on the 6. MSU responded with a 94-yard, 11-play drive ending with Will Rogers' 5-yard touchdown pass to Rufus Harvey.

Leading 14-0 just before halftime, the Bulldogs' defense came through again as Nathaniel Watson forced Aggies quarterback Max Johnson to fumble in the red zone. Forbes' blocked field goal in the third quarter put an exclamation point on the game for MSU and their first SEC West win.

"The biggest thing was we just played together. Early on we played too close to the vest and as we opened up, we had more success," MSU coach Mike Leach said. "They had a tough time teeing off on one thing. A&M is tough.

"They have some really good players and some of the top recruits in the country. The biggest thing is doing your job and I thought we were."

The Bulldogs (4-1, 1-1) had another efficient day offensively with 473 yards, 329 of those from Rogers on 31-of-45 passing with three touchdowns. RaRa Thomas had five catches for 134 yards and a score and MSU rushed for 144 yards on 24 carries.

Meanwhile, the Aggies were frustrated on offense. Johnson was 18 of 25 passing for 201 yards and a touchdown before leaving in the fourth quarter with a hand injury. MSU sacked Johnson four times and posted six tackles for loss, led by 1.5 sacks by backup linebacker JP Purvis.

"Mississippi State played a good football game and is deserving to win," A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said. "We had critical errors in all three phases. We didn't play well enough. We had opportunities to make it, but we didn't get off the field on defense, we didn't hit those red zone chances on offense and had the blocked kick. We have to clean up those mistakes and get better."

Forbes then made two interceptions late in the fourth quarter and capped the game with a 33-yard pick-six. Fellow cornerback Richardson had nine tackles to lead MSU and got his touchdown on the blocked kick.

The win for Leach moved him to 9-4 lifetime over the Aggies between Texas Tech and MSU. The Bulldogs have won five of the last seven in the series and Leach now has six wins over ranked opponents in his three years in Starkville, moving above .500 at MSU overall for the first time since arriving in 2020.


Texas A&M continues a lackluster start to the year, which has included a home loss to Appalachian State and now on the road to the Bulldogs. Jimbo Fisher's offense has taken a lot of the criticism early, and Saturday is likely to spark more as the Aggies struggled again.

Mississippi State was on the verge of the Top 25 when the Bulldogs went to Baton Rouge against LSU but missed a chance for the win. After consecutive wins including a victory over the ranked Aggies, MSU is once again a team to watch in a crowded SEC West.

Scoring Summary
Second Quarter TexA&MMissSt
MissSt TD 6:10 Caleb Ducking 5 yd pass from Will Rogers (Ben Raybon kick) 0 7
MissSt TD 0:58 Rufus Harvey 4 yd pass from Will Rogers (Ben Raybon kick) 0 14
Third Quarter TexA&MMissSt
TexA&M FG 8:49 Randy Bond 24 yd FG 3 14
MissSt 5:02 Decamerion Richardson TD (Ben Raybon kick) 3 21
TexA&M TD 2:35 Moose Muhammad III 18 yd pass from Max Johnson (Randy Bond kick) 10 21
Fourth Quarter TexA&MMissSt
MissSt TD 12:42 Dillon Johnson 1 yd run (Ben Raybon kick) 10 28
TexA&M TD 7:14 Haynes King 4 yd run (Randy Bond kick) 17 28
MissSt TD 7:03 Rara Thomas 75 yd pass from Will Rogers (Ben Raybon kick) 17 35
MissSt TD 3:29 Emmanuel Forbes 33 yd interception return (Ben Raybon kick) 17 42
TexA&M TD 1:34 LJ Johnson Jr. 1 yd run (Randy Bond kick) 24 42
Team Stats
  Texas A&M Mississippi State
First downs 27 22
  Rushing 11 6
  Passing 9 15
  Penalty 7 1
3rd Down Efficiency 2-9, 22% 5-11, 45%
4th down efficiency 1-2, 50% 2-2, 100%
Rushes-Yards 31-136 24-144
Passing Yards 252 329
Return Yards 139 53
Completions-Attempts-Int 25-39-2 31-45-0
Sacks-Yards Lost 4--32 0-0
Punts 3 3
Punts-Average 39.3 35.7
Fumbles Lost 3-2 1-1
Penalties - Yards 3-24 13-138
Time of Possession 31:12 28:48
Texas A&M Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
M. Johnson 19 26 203 1 0
H. King 6 13 49 0 2
Mississippi State Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
W. Rogers 31 45 329 3 0
Texas A&M Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
D. Achane 16 111 6.9 0
L. Johnson Jr. 3 25 8.3 1
H. King 2 14 7.0 1
L. Moss 1 2 2.0 0
E. Stewart 1 -1 -1.0 0
M. Johnson 8 -15 -1.9 0
Mississippi State Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
D. Johnson 14 68 4.9 1
J. Marks 7 54 7.7 0
S. Price 3 22 7.3 0
Texas A&M Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
M. Muhammad III 6 119 19.8 1
E. Stewart 5 56 11.2 0
C. Marshall 4 27 6.8 0
D. Achane 6 21 3.5 0
D. Green 2 19 9.5 0
D. Price 2 10 5.0 0
Mississippi State Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
R. Thomas 5 134 26.8 1
J. Robinson 6 50 8.3 0
R. Harvey 5 41 8.2 1
L. Griffin 3 29 9.7 0
D. Johnson 4 27 6.8 0
J. Marks 4 20 5.0 0
C. Ducking 3 14 4.7 1
A. Williams 1 14 14.0 0
Texas A&M Interceptions
Player Int Yards
Mississippi State Interceptions
Player Int Yards
E. Forbes 2 33
Texas A&M Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
N. Constantinou 3 118 39.3
Mississippi State Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
G. Georgopoulos 2 73 36.5
A. Trafford 1 34 34.0
Texas A&M Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
M. Muhammad III 2 22 11.0
Mississippi State Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
Z. Thomas 1 5 5.0
Texas A&M Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
D. Achane 3 76 25.3
J. Preston 2 41 20.5
Mississippi State Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
L. Griffin 1 15 15.0
S. Preston Jr. 1 0 0
Texas A&M Missed FG
Player Length
R. Bond 44
Mississippi State Missed FG
Player Length
B. Raybon 39