Tennessee 31

(3-3, 0-3 SEC)

(19) Mississippi St 41

(6-0, 3-0 SEC)

Coverage: ESPN2

9:00 PM ET, October 13, 2012

Davis Wade Stadium, Starkville, MS

1 2 3 4 T
TENN 7 7 10 731
#19MSST 10 17 0 1441

Top Performers

Passing: T. Russell (MSST) - 291 YDS, 2 TD

Rushing: L. Perkins (MSST) - 23 CAR, 100 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: M. Green (MSST) - 6 REC, 71 YDS, 2 TD

Mississippi State gets past Tennessee to stay unbeaten

Associated Press

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Tyler Russell doesn't get the publicity. He just keeps piling up the passing yards and victories.

The junior quarterback threw for a career-high 291 yards and two touchdowns, including a 9-yard pass to Malcolm Johnson to seal the victory with nine seconds remaining, and No. 19 Mississippi State beat Tennessee 41-31 on Saturday night.

Russell's big night helped carry the Bulldogs (6-0, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) to their eighth straight victory, dating back to last season. He completed 23-of-37 passes, including the final feathery toss to Johnson, who corralled the throw with one hand in the back of the end zone.

"We knew we had to play four quarters," Russell said. "We didn't play as well as we wanted to, but we made plays when we had to."

LaDarius Perkins added 101 rushing yards and a touchdown as the Bulldogs continued their best start to a season since 1999.

Mississippi State only needs to beat Middle Tennessee next week to set up a potential showdown with No. 1 Alabama on Oct. 27 in Tuscaloosa.

The soft-spoken Russell outplayed Tennessee's Tyler Bray, who tried to rally the Volunteers late, but ran out of time. Bray completed 13 of 24 passes for 148 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in one of his least productive games as a starter.

Tennessee (3-3, 0-3) lost to Mississippi State for the first time since 1994, snapping a six-game winning streak. The Volunteers have lost all three games to ranked opponents.

The game was billed as a showdown between Bray and Mississippi State's veteran secondary, but the duel was slow to materialize.

Bray was just 6-of-12 passing for 58 yards in the first half, throwing one interception on a desperation pass at the end of the second quarter. The Volunteers seemed content to run the ball most of the time, and had quite a bit of success, with 213 rushing yards for the game.

But Bray got going in the second half, connecting on touchdown passes to Cordarrelle Patterson and Ben Bartholomew. The 10-yard strike to Bartholomew cut Mississippi State's lead to 34-31 with 5:22 left.

It looked like Tennessee might rally for the win. But Russell never gave Bray the chance.

He guided the Bulldogs down the field during the tense final minutes, connecting on several crucial passes, including two to Chad Bumphis for 10 and 23 yards. Bumphis led the Bulldogs with seven catches for 93 yards.

Russell has been at his best in three SEC games this season, completing 66-of-105 passes (62.8 percent) for 782 yards, seven touchdowns and no interceptions.

Marcus Green caught six passes for 71 yards and two touchdowns.

"We're not a commercial team," Green said. "We just work hard, we grind."

Tennessee cruised down the field on its first drive, using hard-charging runs by Rajion Neal and Marlin Lane and a few well-placed throws by Bray. Neal bulldozed a couple Mississippi State defenders on a 6-yard touchdown run and the Volunteers had an early 7-3.

But the Bulldogs made adjustments. Tennessee managed just 97 total yards in the first half -- and only 24 after the opening drive.

Mississippi State built a 27-14 lead by halftime as Russell dissected the Volunteers' defense, completing 16 of 23 passes for 199 yards and a touchdown. Backup quarterback Dak Prescott even got in on the action, throwing a 13-yard touchdown pass to Green on a nifty play fake.

Tennessee managed to keep things close thanks to Patterson's spectacular 98-yard kickoff return early in the second quarter. He weaved his way around multiple would-be tacklers on the way to the end zone.

And Patterson was right in the middle of the action again as Tennessee mounted its second-half charge. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound junior turned what looked like a big loss on a running play into a 34-yard gain, reversing the field on Mississippi State's defense. He also caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from Bray to cut Mississippi State's lead to 27-24 with 4:40 left in the third quarter.

Tennessee let several good chances to build on that momentum slip away. Byron Moore dropped what looked like an easy interception and Mississippi State's Johnthan Banks stripped Devrin Young to end a drive.

"We say all the time, big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games," Mullen said. "Well, Banks did."


Team Stat Comparison

1st Downs1826
Total Yards361450
3rd Down Conversions6-124-14
4th Down Conversions0-02-2

Passing Leaders


Rushing Leaders

Mississippi StateCARYDSAVGTDLG

Receiving Leaders

Mississippi StateRECYDSAVGTDLG

Scoring Summary

FG12:21Devon Bell 31 Yd 03
TD08:51Rajion Neal 6 Yd Run (Michael Palardy Kick) 73
TD03:09Josh Robinson 10 Yd Run (Devon Bell Kick) 710
TD14:17Marcus Green 13 Yd Pass From Dak Prescott (Devon Bell Kick) 717
TD14:02Cordarrelle Patterson 98 Yd Kickoff Return (Michael Palardy Kick) 1417
FG09:30Devon Bell 24 Yd 1420
TD07:46Marcus Green 7 Yd Pass From Tyler Russell (Devon Bell Kick) 1427
FG10:35Michael Palardy 38 Yd 1727
TD04:07Cordarrelle Patterson 11 Yd Pass From Tyler Bray (Michael Palardy Kick) 2427
TD07:58LaDarius Perkins 1 Yd Run (Devon Bell Kick) 2434
TD05:22Ben Bartholomew 10 Yd Pass From Tyler Bray (Michael Palardy Kick) 3134
TD00:09Malcolm Johnson 9 Yd Pass From Tyler Russell (Devon Bell Kick) 3141