ATHENS, Ga. (AP) -- Charles Johnson forced a fumble and recovered
it with three seconds left to end Mississippi State's final
comeback attempt Saturday, when Georgia overcame five turnovers for
a 27-24 win that ended a two-game losing streak.
Mississippi State began its final possession at its 20 with 45
seconds left. Michael Henig completed passes of 23 yards to Jamayel
Smith and 34 yards to Tony Burks for a first down at Georgia's 22
with 18 seconds left.
On second down, Henig was looking for a receiver and was poised
to throw when Johnson, a defensive end, stripped the ball and made
the recovery. A review upheld the ruling on the field that the play
was a fumble and not an incomplete pass.
Matthew Stafford threw two touchdown passes, but also had three
interceptions in his return to the starting lineup for Georgia. A
freshman making his third start, Stafford completed 20 of 32 passes
for 267 yards. Stafford took over for senior Joe Tereshinski,
benched after losses to Tennessee and Vanderbilt.
Mikey Henderson and Mohamed Massaquoi fumbled after receptions
as Georgia (6-2 overall, 3-2 Southeastern Conference) helped keep
Mississippi State (2-6 overall, 0-4 SEC) close.
Henig was 14-for-31 passing for 234 yards with two interceptions
and the fumble.
Stafford completed a 34-yard pass to Kenneth Harris in an
11-play, 88-yard touchdown drive that ended early in the fourth
quarter. Andy Bailey's extra-point attempt hit the left upright,
leaving Georgia's lead at 27-17.
Anthony Dixon rushed for 37 yards and three touchdowns for
Mississippi State, which lost its 23rd straight SEC road game, a
streak dating to 2000. Dixon scored on 5-yard runs in the first and
third quarters and added a 3-yard touchdown run in the fourth
quarter to cut Georgia's lead to 27-24.
Mississippi State couldn't capitalize on an interception by
cornerback Keith Fitzhugh that gave it possession at the Georgia 48
with 7:38 left. Georgia's defense held without giving up a first
Georgia's Kregg Lumpkin rushed for 80 yards, including a 2-yard
scoring run in the first quarter. Stafford threw second-quarter
scoring passes to tight end Tripp Chandler and Massaquoi for a 21-7