Thursday's college football: Mississippi State beats up Ole Miss

Detroit News staff and wires
Mississippi State tight end Farrod Green (82) pulls in a pass reception against Mississippi defensive back Zedrick Woods during the first half on Thursday.

Oxford, Miss. — Nick Fitzgerald ran for two touchdowns and threw for another score to lead No. 22 Mississippi State over Mississippi, 35-3, on Thursday night in an Egg Bowl marred by a fight that led to four ejections in the second half.

Mississippi State looked as though it would cruise to a fairly uneventful win before Ole Miss receiver A.J. Brown appeared to score a touchdown at the end of the third quarter. Players immediately started shoving, and the fight spilled into the end zone while both benches emptied onto the field.

Mississippi State’s Cameron Dantzler, Jamal Peters and Willie Gay Jr. were ejected, along with Ole Miss’ C.J. Moore. The referee said every player on both teams received an unsportsmanlike penalty. Gay was ejected because he already had one unsportsmanlike penalty earlier in the game.

Brown’s touchdown was called back because time had expired in the third quarter before the play began. The Rebels didn’t seriously threaten again.

Mississippi State first-year coach Joe Moorhead said the fight didn’t take away from the win.

“I’m happy as a lark right now,” he explained. “Certainly you don’t want to see that stuff. I really can’t comment on everything that happened because I didn’t see it and I was trying to keep guys on the sideline. We’ll look at the film and see what happened.

“But certainly, we want our play to be between the whistles and we want our execution and our effort to be what’s talked about.”

As for the game, Mississippi State (8-4, 4-4 SEC) won by sticking to what it’s done best all year: running the ball effectively and playing terrific defense. The Bulldogs gained 122 yards rushing in the first quarter to set the tone and built a 14-0 lead by early in the second quarter.

Fitzgerald ran for 117 yards on 18 carries. Kylin Hill added 108 yards rushing.

Ole Miss (5-7, 1-7) ended the season on a five-game losing streak. The Rebels’ passing offense  which has been among the best in the SEC this season  never got going against the Bulldogs.

Jordan Ta’amu completed just 8 of 17 passes for 87 yards and one touchdown.

Ole Miss coach Matt Luke said the team’s turnovers and dropped passes were too much to overcome.

“Hate for our seniors to go out this way because they have been through so much,” Luke said. “But I’m really, really grateful to them.”

Not-so-hot ticket

Tickets to Saturday’s Michigan State-Rutgers game at Spartan Stadium are barely worth the paper they’re printed on. And that’s no joke.

A search for tickets on secondary-market place StubHub showed hundreds if not thousands of tickets are available for as little as $6.

And if that’s too rich for your blood, Michigan State announced this week — according to multiple Lansing news outlets — that students with season tickets can bring up two friends with them, free of charge.

That’s in addition to posts on social media from multiple business, including a gym and a bank, offering multiple tickets for free to their customers.

Asked to describe the interest in the MSU-Rutgers ticket in three words, Brian Posey of The Ticket Machine in Okemos said, “Time for basketball.”

The mad dash to unload tickets is reminiscent to an embarrassing instance at Michigan in 2014, when the university’s student union was offering two free tickets to that week’s Minnesota game with the purchase of a single 20-bounce bottle of Coke.

The disinterest in the MSU-Rutgers game is understandable, given the Spartans’ subpar season (6-5), an awful foe (1-10), it being a holiday weekend, a bad weather forecast, and a bigger game going on between Ohio State and Michigan.

Bus rolls onto side

One of three charter buses carrying members of the University of Washington marching band to a football showdown at Washington State University rolled onto its side on Interstate 90, the Washington State Patrol said.

No serious injuries had been reported from the accident that was called in to authorities at 5:26 p.m., Trooper John Bryant told the Seattle Times. A total of 25 students were treated for injuries that were not serious or life-threatening, Bryant said. The bus carried 56 people, he added.

Troopers, paramedics and deputies from the Grant County Sheriff’s Office responded to the accident, he said.

The accident took place on eastbound I-90 at mile post 146, about 3 miles west of George, Bryant said.

Road conditions were extremely slippery and icy in spots, the trooper told the Times.

The charter buses were headed to the Apple Cup, which is scheduled for Friday, in Pullman.

School officials were attempting to load students and equipment from the crashed bus onto the two other charter buses traveling together to continue the trip to Pullman, Bryant said.

EMU set for finale

Eastern Michigan will close out the regular season at Kent State at noon Friday, and there might be a bit on the line.

While the Eagles, at 6-5, are technically bowl-eligible, Mid-American Conference teams are wise to get a seventh win to assure they’ll be going to a bowl. (Western Michigan stayed at home at 6-6 last season.)

Kent State is 2-9.