Nick Fitzgerald threw for four touchdowns and ran for another score to lead No. 25 Mississippi State over Arkansas 52-6 on Saturday.
In his final home game, Fitzgerald had another big performance in a career full of them. He completed 9 of 14 passes for 127 yards and also ran for 85 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown.
“He’s a guy that’s going to play 100 percent, 100 percent of the time,” Mississippi State coach Joe Moorhead said. “This sounds cliche, but he’s got a bulldog spirit and a bulldog toughness to him and that shows up every time he’s between the white lines.”
Senior Aeris Williams, starting in place of the injured Kylin Hill, added 104 yards rushing on 15 carries.
Mississippi State (7-4, 3-4 SEC, No. 21 CFP) pushed out to a 17-3 lead by halftime thanks to 166 yards rushing, including rushing touchdowns by Fitzgerald and Nick Gibson.
The Bulldogs left no doubt about the outcome in the third quarter, scoring 21 points on three of Fitzgerald’s touchdown passes. Mississippi State’s defense held Arkansas to just 219 total yards.
Arkansas (2-9, 0-7) had some promising drives in the first half but had to settle for field goals. That wasn’t enough to keep pace with the Bulldogs, who methodically beat the Razorbacks for a sixth time in seven seasons.
“This is completely unacceptable,” Arkansas coach Chad Morris said. “Unacceptable in all areas. Unacceptable coaching, unacceptable playing, unacceptable at all levels. This is not what this program is about — not what it’s going to be built on. We’re in major gut check time.”
Arkansas’ Ty Storey completed 16 of 28 passes for 137 yards and one interception. Rakeem Boyd ran for 84 yards.
Arkansas: After an acceptable first half, the second half proved embarrassing. Arkansas has shown flashes of improvement during coach Chad Morris’ first season, but this loss was a step back.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs handled business against the worst team in the SEC. Mississippi State continues to excel on the ground and on defense. The passing game is still a hit-and-miss, but Fitzgerald made good decisions, especially during the second half.
Arkansas plays at Missouri on Friday.
Mississippi State plays at Ole Miss on Thanksgiving night.
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