After an interesting week between the two universities, Mississippi State University football pulled out the win in overtime against Auburn University 39-33 Saturday night.
The Bulldogs capped off their first drive with a 28-yard field goal from graduate Massimo Biscardi. The Auburn Tigers failed to get anything going on their first drive, and Rogers found redshirt senior Caleb Ducking on MSU's second drive of the game for a touchdown to put the Bulldogs up 10 early.
With the passing touchdown to Ducking, Rogers broke the MSU career touchdown record and the career record for passing yards set by former Bulldogs quarterback Dak Prescott.
Arguably the most surprising factor of the first half was the performance from the MSU defense. The Bulldogs recorded seven tackles-for-loss and two sacks in the first half in which they held the Tigers to just six points.
The Auburn offense found their rhythm in the third quarter — scoring their first touchdown of the game on a 20-yard run from redshirt freshman quarterback Robby Ashford. The Tigers tried to go for two, but redshirt senior nose guard Cameron Jones picked off Ashford to prevent the conversion.
MSU's offense started off the second half sluggish, and the offensive line did not handle pressure well. The pressure from the Auburn defense forced Rogers to make bad decisions at times — throwing an interception and fumbling the ball three times in the game.
In the postgame presser, graduate wideout Austin Williams discussed what the Auburn defense did in the second half to disrupt the MSU offense.
"They came out hot with a chip on their shoulder. They played well," Williams said. "They played hard. They played fast."
The Auburn offense took advantage of the mistakes from the MSU offense — scoring on another Ashford rushing touchdown to make the score 24-19 at the end of the third quarter.
Mike Leach's Air Raid offense needed to get back on track in the fourth quarter. That is the exact opposite of what occurred. Miscommunication and an extensive amount of pressure from the Tigers' defense forced MSU's offensive struggles to continue in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter.
However, the Bulldogs' defense continued to give the offense a chance at redemption. Auburn forced MSU to make bad decisions, and Leach's offense just could not find a way to get anything going in the first 10 minutes of the fourth quarter.
The Tigers' offense found ways to establish the rushing attack in the fourth as they took their first lead of the game off a 41-yard rushing touchdown from junior running back Tank Bigsby.
Rogers and the MSU offense finally found the end zone in the second half as the gunslinger connected with Thomas for a 33-yard passing touchdown with 3:49 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs attempted the two-point conversion, but it was to no avail and MSU led Auburn by five.
The drama intensified through the rest of the fourth quarter as MSU and Auburn continued to battle back-and-forth. Eventually, the game took a weird and wild turn.
Auburn scored a late touchdown to pull ahead three with 1:05 remaining in the fourth quarter. The MSU offense showed resilience and drove downfield to position Biscardi within his range to attempt the field goal. Biscardi made the field goal to send the Bulldogs and Tiger into overtime.
After a missed field goal on Auburn's first drive in overtime, MSU's offense persevered to win in overtime. Junior running back Woody Marks rushed in for the game-winning touchdown.
During the postgame presser, Bulldogs' head coach Mike Leach described his reaction to Marks' game winning touchdown against Auburn in overtime.
"I was happy Woody scored," Leach said. "Woody is a good player and has a lot of dimension to him. When he's really, really focused, that's when he's at his best."
With the win against the Tigers, the Bulldogs are bowl eligible for the 13th straight season. MSU's next battle will take place against the University of Georgia at Davis Wade Stadium. Kickoff against UGA is set for 6 p.m. and will be streamed live on ESPN.