(St. Petersburg, FL) Nelson Adams blocked Nick Dowd’s potential game winning field goal with 5 seconds left in the game lifting the Bulldogs to a dramatic 17-16 comeback win over Miami (OH) in the St. Petersburg Bowl Saturday afternoon at Tropicana Field.
The Red Hawks muzzled the Bulldogs offense for most of the game by slowing the pace and keeping Mississippi State out of their usual quick paced rhythm. Miami (OH) drove down the field on their opening possession but had to settle for an 18-yard field goal by Nick Dowd. Miami (OH) led 3-0 after the first quarter.
Quarterback Gus Ragland, completed a 6 yard touchdown pass to James Gardner midway through the second quarter to extend the Red Hawks lead to 9-0 after a blocked extra point. A sign of things to come at the end of the game.
Mississippi State (6-7) finally got on the board with :22 seconds left in the half when Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald bulldogged his way into the end zone from 2 yards out to pull his team within 9-7 at the midway break.
Gus Ragland led Miami (OH) (6-7) on an 8 play, 85-yard scoring drive early in the third quarter capping it off with a short, one-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Smith to make it 16-7.
The Bulldogs responded when QB Nick Fitzgerald broke to the outside and rumbled 44 yards for a touchdown pulling Mississippi State to within 16-14 with 4:15 left in the 3rd.
Early in the 4th quarter after Fitzgerald ran the ball 26 yards to the Miami (OH) 38. A hit to the head penalty by Deondre Daniels added an additional 15 yards setting up Westin Graves 36 yard field goal, which would prove to be the game winner.
Both starting quarterbacks were named game MVP’s. Bulldogs QB Nick Fitzgerald completed 13 of 26 passes for 126 yards and ran the ball 18 times for 142 yards. Red Hawks quarterback Gus Ragland went 21-29 for 257 yards and 2 touchdowns with 1 INT and rushed for 51 yards on 17 carries.
Both teams combined for 768 total yards, 4th highest in St. Pete Bowl history.
Post game comments from both head coaches are below:
Miami (OH) dropped their first six games of the season and then won six straight to become bowl eligible.
Today’s game was broadcast on ESPN with Dave LaMont, Rene Ingoglia and Chris Doering and on ESPN Radio.
Former Tampa Bay Buccaneer and St. Petersburg resident Mike Alstott is the Honorary Game Chairman for this year’s St. Pete Bowl. He also took part in the opening coin toss.
38 current players in the NFL have played in the 8 previous St. Petersburg Bowls including Latavius Murray (Oakland Raiders), Blake Bortles (Jacksonville Jaguars), T.Y. Hilton (Indianapolis Colts) and Mohamed Sanu (Atlanta Falcons). In all, 133 players in the St. Pete Bowl have been drafted by NFL teams.
Mississippi State is the first SEC team to play in the St. Pete Bowl. Miami (OH) is the third MAC team to take part, the others Ball State in 2012 and Ohio in 2013.
Uniform shuffle: Miami University wore the visitor uniforms of red helmets, white jerseys and red pants. Mississippi State wore the home uniforms of all maroon helmets, jerseys and pants.
You may order the book in the Amazon.com search box below: