BIRMINGHAM, Ala, (UPI)- Kansas Coach Don Fambrough said his team never recovered from its fumble of the opening kickoff, which gave the Hall of Fame Bowl's only touchdown to Mississippi State in the first 12 seconds Thursday.
"They stunned us from the beginning and intimidated us," he said after his team's 10-0 loss to the defense-minded Bulldogs.
"We didn't have all our weapons out there," he said of his 8-4 Jayhawks, third in the Big Eight. "Our team was uptight the whole first half."
"I think we did a lot of things well," said MSU Coach Emory Bellard, whose team also finished 8-4 and was third in their league, the Southeastern Conference.
"I would have liked to have seen us run up and down the field a little more and ring the bell more, but I think we did pretty well," said Bellard.
All-SEC safety Rob Fesmire recovered the fumble that led to quarterback John Bond's 17-yard touchdown run and Fesmire also intercepted a pass.
A host of records were broken in the fifth annual bowl in Birmingham, the most impressive being a 74-yard punt by Misslsippi State's Dana Moore, who also kicked a 22-yard field goal.
It was the Bulldogs' first post-season victory since the 1974 Sun Bowl. Their overall bowl record is now 4-2, the Jayhawks 1-5.
Some 41,672 saw the game, played on soggy Legion Field.
Kansas fumbled the opening kickoff, and Fesmire, a senior from Nashville, Tenn., recovered. Bond scored on the first play, an option around right end.
Moore kicked his field goal after an 11-play, 38-yard march. He missed a 39-yarder with less than a minute left in the first half.
The Jayhawks had only seven yards rushing in the first half.
Fesmire thwarted Kansas’ most serious offensive threat of the first half by intercepting a Steve Smith pass at State's 26.
The Bulldogs drove to the Kansas 14 in the third quarter but failed to pick up a first down on a fourth-and one situation (video).
And on the third play of the fourth period, Moore missed a second 39-yard field goal attempt.
Cornerback Kenneth Johnson ended another Kansas drive by intercepting a Smith bomb on the State 3-yard.
All-SEC linebacker Johnnie Cooks of Mississippi State was named the game's outstanding defensive player (video).
Bond, also the game's most valuable offensive player, rushed 17 times for 79 yards and passed for 51 yards (video).