STARKVILLE, Miss. - Anthony Dixon and his Mississippi State teammates ran right over the University of Arkansas' bowl hopes.
Dixon rushed for 179 yards and a score and also caught 2 touchdown passes as the Bulldogs scored 24 straight points en route to whipping the Razorbacks 31-21 Saturday afternoon at Scott Field.
The loss ended any hopes Arkansas (4-7, 1-6) had of getting a bowl berth and also plunged it into the bottom of the SEC West cellar behind Mississippi State (4-7, 2-5).
Although the Razorbacks once had a 14-0 lead only to watch the Bulldogs score at will, Arkansas did have one last shot when they recovered an on-side kick with 25 seconds left and down 31-28.
New starting quarterback Nathan Dick, who had just tossed a touchdown pass to Ben Cleveland, completed passes of 21 and 10 yards to London Crawford to give the Razorbacks a shot with four seconds left.
But Alex Tejada's 46-yard field goal was no good and left the Bulldogs celebrating instead of the game headed to overtime.
It also meant next Friday's game with LSU in Little Rock would be just for pride and not for a chance to get into a bowl and get the extra practice time that comes with it.
Nathan Dick took over the reins at quarterback from his brother Casey. It was his first start. Nathan had only played in mop-up duty in the last game at South Carolina, leading the Hogs to their last TD.
Nathan Dick was 25-of-43 passing for 333 yards and 3 touchdowns with one interception with wideout Lucas Miller having a career-day with 10 catches for 201 yards.
Nathan picked up where he left off at Columbia, sparking the Razorbacks to touchdown marches on their first two possessions and a 14-0 lead.
The Hogs drove 71 yards in 10 plays with the opening kickoff for a 7-0 lead on Michael Smith's 15-yard burst on a draw play, an apparent check at the line from Nathan Dick after a look to the sideline.
Smith (14 carries, 60 yards) also had a 19-yard draw play to start the drive, erasing a third-and-10 for the initial first down. Nathan found Jarius Wright for another big play, a 17-yard completion on a bootleg pass. Nathan converted third-and-4 with a strike to Miller in traffic for 5 yards.
The Bulldogs moved the chains once on their first drive, but made only 5 yards on a third-and-7 pass to give up the ball on a punt.
Nathan Dick didn't take long to move the Hogs 90 yards on their second possession. After Smith made 3 yards on first down, Nathan found Miller down the middle for an 87-yard touchdown bomb.
It was the third longest touchdown pass in school history.
Nathan appeared to look two ways before settling in on Miller with plenty of time from his offensive line. It was 14-0 at the 7:12 mark of the second quarter.
Miller certainly has his best day as a Razorback with a career-high 9 catches for career-best 172 yards and the score.
One of the big plays in the game might have been a third-and-8 on MSU's second possession. Down 14-0, the Bulldogs dumped a pass over the middle to tailback Anthony Dixon. Two Hogs, the first being Ryan Powers, jumped on his back short of the stakes, but Dixon powered to the first down.
The Hogs would threaten just once more in the first half. After State moved 73 yards twice in a row -- mixing the run and the pass -- the Hogs had a chance to break the 14-14 deadlock when they moved to the MSU 26-yard line.
The big play was a 19-yard reverse to Joe Adams. However, they came up empty when Tejada's 44-yard field goal try started left and stayed there, just a couple of yards wide with 9:20 left in the half.
MSU quarterback Tyson Lee converted a fourth-and-1 with a sneak in the first TD march. He also completed a shovel pass for 24, the big play in that drive. Dixon reached behind him for a bad pass for the TD, a 1-yard throw from Lee.
The Bulldogs had to erase two third-and-1s on their second TD march. Dixon, the big tailback, converted the first one with a 5-yard burst off tackle. He rambled 40 on a cutback off of tackle on the second to move the Bulldogs to the UA 10. Arnil Stallworth ran over the Hogs on the final play, a 10-yard sweep, sending UA middle linebacker Wendel Davis to the locker room with an apparent leg injury in the process.
After Tejada's missed field goal, the Bulldogs broke the tie with a 12-play, 58-yard march to make it 17-14 with 5:59 left in the half on Adam Carlson's 32-yard field goal. Lee scrambled for 10 straight through the heart of the UA defense on a fourth-and-3 play from the 28-yard line for the critical play.
The Bulldogs got the second-half kickoff and rolled to the UA 38 behind tough running from Dixon. But the Hogs' pass defense was up to the task when Lee went to the air. On fourth-and-2, Lee was incomplete trying for McRae.
The Hogs were three-and-out, losing a replay challenge when Dick found Wright down the middle for a big play.
The Bulldogs came up empty on their second possession of the half when Carlson was wide left from 42 yards out.
Dixon did it all by himself on the next State possession. He made 4 yards on first down, then circled the right flank of the UA defense for 63 yards. He was not touched. Linebacker Jerry Franklin took the wrong angle in the hole and Dickson bounced it wide. It was a foot race down the sideline. Matt Harris didn't make up any ground. It was 24-14 at 3:43 of the third quarter.
Arkansas answered to get within 24-21, but needed a break from the Bulldogs. The Hogs went 75 yards on 8 plays, but got a lost fumble back after Dennis Johnson coughed it up when State was offsides.
The Hogs gobbled up the last 52 yards in two plays. Nathan Dick found Miller -- bouncing off an uncalled interference -- for 32 yards. Nathan found D. J. Williams down the middle for the final 22 yards with two seconds left in the third quarter.
State rolled 61 yards in 10 plays to regain its 10-point cushion. Lee found McRae for 20 on an out to start things. On third-and-goal from the UA 9, he caught the Hogs in a blitz, dumping to Dixon in the middle for the 9-yard TD with 11:15 in the fourth.
Lee was 23-of-40 on the day for 219 yards and two touchdowns as Mississippi State rolled up 445 yards total offense to Arkansas' 443.
The Hogs couldn't answer immediately this time. They got a break when State kicked off out of bounds. They were prepared to go for it on fourth-and-inches from midfield, but Grant Cook moved after the Hogs took their stance. On fourth-and-5, Dick threw high for Chris Gragg with 9:27 left.
Arkansas did cut it to 31-28 when Dick hit Ben Cleveland on a TD catch on a 4th-and-goal from the Mississippi State 1 with 25 seconds left in the game.
It was Cleveland's first catch of the season and Tejada's PAT gave the Razorbacks a shot.
Mississippi State linebacker Dominic Douglas had 12 of his game-high 16 tackles by halftime while Freddy Burton led Arkansas with 10 stops and Matt Harris added 9.
Mississippi State 31, Arkansas 28
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