Arkansas takes 26-19 win over Bulldogs

By By Danny P. Smith / special to The Star
Nov. 24, 2002
STARKVILLE The Arkansas Razorbacks refused to let the Mississippi State Bulldogs spoil their fun Saturday afternoon.
Even though Mississippi State rallied back from a 26-6 deficit to make the game close, the Razorbacks held on for a 26-19 victory in front of 40,108 at Scott Field.
The Razorbacks improved to 8-3 overall and 4-3 in the Southeastern COnference to move closer to the Western Division title, while the Bulldogs remained winless in the league.
Mississippi State fell to 3-8 overall and 0-7 in the conference. The Bulldogs have to beat Ole Miss Thursday night in the Egg Bowl to avoid their first winless season in the conference since 1988.
Even though Mississippi State football coach Jackie Sherrill is disappointed in the record, he was pleased with the effort.
Arkansas held a 26-6 lead with 13:51 remaining in the fourth quarter after fullback Mark Pierce scored on a 5-yard run.
The Bulldogs scored the final 13 points of the game to make the final score respectable.
Backup quarterback Kyle York came in for an injured Kevin Fant and threw a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes.
The first came at the 11:05 mark on a 21-yard pass that was deflected in the air and snagged by Antonio Hargro, then Ray Ray Bivines caught York's second scoring toss of 26 yards with 3:20 left to play.
After Mississippi State recovered the onside kick, York couldn't convert on the final possession and Arkansas went on to run out the clock.
After Brent Smith put the Bulldogs on top 3-0 with a 25-yard field goal with 8:29 left in the first quarter, the Razorbacks showed their best.
Arkansas used an eight-play, 75-yard drive with 67 of those yards coming on the ground. The only pass came on the touchdown when quarterback Matt Jones found George Wilson for an 8-yard score with 5:37 remaining and the Razorbacks were up 7-3 after the opening quarter.
The lead for Arkansas was extended to 19-3 by halftime as Jones hit Pierce out of the backfield for a 15-yard touchdown, the Razorbacks sacked Fant for a safety and David Carlton booted a 26-yard field goal.
The only scoring in the third quarter was Smith's 32-yard field goal to help Mississippi State get to within 19-6 with 2:42 remaining.
Fullback Justin Griffith led the Bulldogs in rushing with 72 yards on 13 carries, while York finished the game by completing 11-of-22 pass attempts for 174 yards. Fant was 14-of-26 for 115 yards.
Sherrill said a decision on a starting quarterback against the Rebels would be made during the week.

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