Mississippi State, Miami excited to be in St. Petersburg

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Redhawks play the Mississippi State Bulldogs in the St. Petersburg Bowl on Monday, start time at 11:00 AM ET, at Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida.

In a football game played at a baseball stadium, the St. Pete Bowl between Miami (OH) and Mississippi State resembled America's pastime in pacing and point quantity for the first half of the proceedings.

ABOUT MISSISSIPPI STATE (5-7 SU, 5-7 ATS, 7-5 OU): Senior Fred Ross is Fitzgerald's top target with 68 receptions for 873 yards and 12 touchdowns while junior Donald Gray has also contributed with 39 catches and 691 yards to go along with five scores.

Mississippi State took a 17-16 lead on its first drive of the fourth quarter as Fitzgerald led the Bulldogs to the Miami 19-yard line, where Westin Graves kicked a 36-yard field goal. They square off against Miami (OH), the first team in NCAA history to win six straight after losing their first six games of the year.

Miami outgained Mississippi State 433-335 and likely would have won the game if it weren't for its own miscues.

Fitzgerald finished with a game-high 132 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, setting a Mississippi State record for touchdown runs by a quarterback (16). The extra point was then blocked by Mississippi State. "A lot of frustrating things happened during the course of the game for us but you're proud".

The Red and White's defense forced the Bulldogs to punt on their first two possessions as MU maintained the 3-0 advantage through the end of the first quarter. A completion from Ragland to Ryan Smith for 21 yards got the RedHawks driving down the field.

"Right now, it's very cold, but we are looking to make the weather nice again with a bowl win", said Nolan Lissman, a freshman at Miami University. He tossed another TD pass in the third quarter to put Miami up 16-7. Fitzgerald leads the team with both 2,287 yards passing and 1,243 yards rushing.

Offensively, the Redhawks are averaging 23.4 points and 361.4 total yards (227.9 in passing and 133.5 in rushing) per game. Jamoral Graham picked off Ragland at the 9-yard line going in and the turnover led to the Bulldogs' go-ahead field goal on the ensuing drive.

With a little over 3 minutes to play the RedHawks began marching down the field with their run game, using up some valuable time on the clock.