Mississippi St. 43
Texas A&M 41
SHREVEPORT, Louisiana (Ticker) -- Three times proved the overtime
charm for Mississippi State. Wayne Madkin scored on a seven-yard
quarterback draw in overtime after cornerback Julius Griffith returned a
blocked conversion for two points as Mississippi State rallied in the
snow for a 43-41 victory over Texas A&M in the Independence Bowl.
The Bulldogs (8-4) had not scored in overtime in regular-season
losses to Louisiana State and Arkansas. And things looked bleak for
Mississippi State after Texas A&M's Ja'Mar Toombs rambled 25 yards for a
touchdown on the first play of overtime.
But defensive tackle Willie Blade blocked the extra point. Eugene
Clinton grabbed the ball and lateraled to Griffith, who went the
distance to cut the deficit to 41-37 (video).
"They were blocking down on me, but I kept fighting and fighting to
get through and finish the play," Blade said.
On the Bulldogs' first play from scrimmage, Madkin turned a busted
play into a 19-yard gain. After Dontae Walker lost a yard, Madkin went
up the middle from the 7-yard line to give Mississippi State its second
straight bowl win after four consecutive losses.
"All I know is that I broke containment and I was trying to stretch
(the ball) out as far as I could," Madkin said. "I knew I had scored
when my teammates started to jump on me."
Playing in a steady snow that obscured the yard markers and made
footing treacherous, Madkin completed 9-of-19 passes for 71 yards and a
pair of touchdowns. Walker carried 16 times for 143 yards and three
"There might have been a different football game under normal
conditions, but our team just never gave up," said Mississippi State
coach Jackie Sherrill, who held the same post at Texas A&M from 1982-88.
"I was surprised both teams scored as many points as we did in the
Toombs set a Texas A&M bowl record with 35 carries for 193 yards and
three TDs. The yardage was the second-highest total in Aggies' bowl
history, trailing only the 276 Curtis Dickey rolled up in the 1978 Hall
of Fame Bowl.
"I haven't given the records any thought," Toombs said. "I'm a team
guy and my only concern is the team."
Trailing 21-20 after three quarters, Texas A&M grabbed the lead on a
35-yard touchdown pass from Mark Farris to Bethel Johnson. Richard
Whitaker ran for the two-point conversion and Toombs scored on a 13-yard
run to give the Aggies a 35-21 cushion.
Just over a minute later, Walker broke off a 32-yard touchdown. With
less than three minutes remaining, safety Marco Minor intercepted Farris
at the Aggies' 4-yard line. Madkin threw a three-yard TD toss to Donald
Lee to tie it with 90 seconds left.
"I saw our defensive line going in pretty hard and my guy stopped,"
Minor said. "So I just stepped in front of him as soon as possible to
make a play. That's what I did."
Whitaker and Toombs ran for first-quarter touchdowns to stake Texas
A&M to a 14-0 lead. The Bulldogs tied it in the second as Walker raced
40 yards for a score (video) and Madkin found Dicenzo Miller for a five-yard TD.
The Aggies took a 20-14 lead into the locker room after Farris and
Robert Ferguson hooked up for a 42-yard touchdown.
"People talked all week about how evenly matched Texas A&M and
Mississippi State were. At the end of 60 minutes of play, the score was
tied, and when the game was over, only two points separated the teams so
they were obviously right," Aggies coach R.C. Slocum said. "It's a
bitter feeling for us and I'm sure Mississippi State is feeling pretty
good on their side."
Toombs led A&M against MSU in a bowl for the ages.
|Madkin stretches for the game-winner.|
Dontae Walker in the "Snow Bowl".
A&M- Ferguson 3-54