STARKVILLE, Miss. — Arkansas took No. 1 Mississippi State to the brink of playoff elimination Saturday, but another frustrating fourth quarter left the Razorbacks with a familiar feeling.
The Bulldogs scored on a long touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter and Arkansas twice failed to score inside the red zone in the closing minutes as Mississippi State won 17-10 at Davis Wade Stadium. The Bulldogs won their third consecutive game in the series by the same margin as an overtime win last season in Little Rock.
The Razorbacks (4-5, 0-5 SEC) lost their 17th consecutive conference game, tying for the seventh-longest such streak in SEC history.
"At this point it's almost numbing to be so close and not be able to come out on top with one of these opportunities," Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said.
"In the end we did too many things against ourselves. We preached all week about this being all about Arkansas, which is crazy to think about when you're playing the No. 1 team in the country."
Dak Prescott passed for a career-high 331 yards and added 61 yards rushing, overcoming a poor first half performance in which he threw a pair of interceptions. Prescott's 69-yard touchdown pass to Fred Ross with 13:21 remaining gave the Bulldogs their first lead of the game.
"(Dak) was a little more relaxed in the second half," Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said. "He knows we have great confidence in him. He expects to make plays. The great thing about him is that he's going to study the film and learn from it, and not make mistakes a second time."
Prescott avoided the Arkansas rush on the play and rolled to his left. The quarterback's mobility allowed Ross to break away from his defender and run untouched to the end zone.
"It's 11 guys playing defense," Bielema said. "...It was one guy that didn't get the call and wasn't in the deep third, and the result is a touchdown."
Arkansas had two chances to tie the game later in the quarter, converting several third and fourth downs to move the ball inside the Mississippi State 20-yard line.
Following the Bulldogs' long touchdown, the Razorbacks advanced the ball as far as the opposing 1-yard line before being stuffed on two straight plays. Jonathan Williams lost 2 yards on a toss sweep and Alex Collins rushed for no gain on a draw play up the middle with 5:05 remaining.
Arkansas had one last chance after getting the ball back with 2:29 remaining. Brandon Allen converted a fourth-and-15 with a 36-yard pass to tight end Hunter Henry near midfield. Allen converted a third-and-10 later in the drive with a 24-yard pass to Henry to the Bulldogs 16.
But Allen was intercepted on the next play when he under threw receiver Demetrius Wilson in the end zone with 15 seconds remaining. Mississippi State cornerback Will Redmond recorded the interception, which was the Razorbacks' only turnover of the game.
"I'm proud of our guys," Mullen said. "We made stops when we needed to make stops at the end.
"That was a huge win for our team tonight against an excellent Arkansas football team. Fortunately we were able to make one more play there at the end of the game. Our guys are finding ways to win, and that's all that matters."
Arkansas took a 3-0 lead on Adam McFain's 36-yard field goal on the game's opening drive and extended the lead to 10-0 in the second quarter on a 1-yard run by Collins. The Razorbacks' only touchdown came after Kody Walker recovered a fumbled punt at the Mississippi State 25.
The Bulldogs (8-0, 5-0) got on the board with a 3-yard touchdown run by Josh Robinson midway through the second quarter. Arkansas led 10-7 at halftime.
Mississippi State reached the Razorbacks 22 early in the third quarter, but turned the ball over on downs trying to convert a fourth-and-1. The Bulldogs tied the game on a 37-yard field goal by Evan Sobiesk late in the third quarter.
Mississippi State has won 11 straight games - a streak that began with its win over Arkansas last November.
Collins led the Razorbacks with 93 rushing yards, while Henry caught seven passes for 110 yards. Allen completed 22 of 43 passes for 238 yards.
Robinson led Mississippi State with 64 yards rushing on 19 carries and 110 yards receiving on six receptions.
Several players from both teams had to be restrained while walking off the field. It took about a minute for the teams to be separated before Arkansas players walked to the locker room.
The Razorbacks won't play next week. The Razorbacks will host LSU on Nov. 15 in Fayetteville.
"I can promise you nobody will attack these last three games...harder than the Arkansas Razorbacks," Bielema said.
Adam McFain watches a 36-yard field goal sail true.
Bret Bielema protests a call in the first quarter.
Brandon Allen drops back to pass.
Brooks Ellis and Trey Flowers make a stop.
Alan Turner (27) had an interception and a fumble recovery.
Photos by Jason Ivester
Mississippi State 17, Arkansas 10
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