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November 9, 2013

GAME SUMMARY: Bulldogs Fall in Shootout with Aggies, 51-41

Quarterback Dak Prescott entered Saturday's game with much on his mind and heart. His mother had passed away just a week prior and one of her last wishes were for him to play for her. He did just that against Texas A&M (8-2, 4-2) as he put up 304 yards of total offense with two touchdowns as MSU (4-5, 1-4) put up a fight but fell to the Aggies, 51-41.

MSU started the ball game with the ball but would go three plays in out with Tyler Russell starting for the first time since the opening game of the season. The Bulldogs gave the ball to A&M, but thanks to two big stops by linebacker Matthew Wells they forced a three-and-out of their own. MSU took over at their own 23.

Russell converted two first down with a pass to De'Runnya Wilson and a 10-yard run by Ladarius Perkins, but the Bulldogs would get just eight yards on the next four plays and turned the ball over on downs. This time, Johnny Manziel made the Bulldogs pay ending the drive with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Malcome Kennedy. An easy drive led to the 7-0 lead with 5:45 remaining in the first quarter.

Immediately, the Bulldogs struck. Dak Prescott was inserted at quarterback and he handed the ball to Josh Robinson who took the ball off the left side, broke a tackle and rushed into the endzone for a 51-yard touchdown. The Bulldogs tied the game up at seven with 5:28 remaining in the first quarter.

Manziel was back in business moving the ball down to the MSU 15 yard line completing his first seven passes of the drive. The Bulldogs then began to get pressure. Manziel threw the second down pass away and on third down Jamerson Love intercepted his second pass of the season to give the Bulldogs the ball and keep A&M out of the endzone.

The Bulldogs failed to get anything out of it with their second three-and-out. Devon Bell was punting out of the back of his own endzone for the second time this season saw a safety after the blocked punt. Texas A&M took the 9-7 lead with 1:30 left in the first and took over at their own 38 after the free kick.

Manziel took care of the football on this possession converting a third down play scrambling away from the pass rush and hitting Travis Labhart for a 14-yard gain. On the very next play, Manziel hit the wide open Labhart for his second touchdown pass of the day, this one from 33 yards. A&M took the 16-7 lead to run out the first quarter.

MSU tried to come back out and answer as Russell began the fifth drive of the game. Russell started the drive with an 11-yard pass to Wilson, his third catch of the first half. On second down, Russell hit redshirt freshman Fred Brown for another first down. After two plays for seven yards, MSU faced a third and three from the A&M 44 where Robinson took the ball off left tackle for a seven yard gain and a first down. MSU would stall on the next three plays and punt the ball away. Bell sent the ball inside the five yard line and A&M started from their own three. After three-straight runs, MSU got the big three-and-out and forced a punt by the Aggies. MSU took over at their own 28.

MSU converted two first downs but got nothing more on the drive and had to punt it again. A&M had the ball at their own 10 after Bell booted the ball inside the 20 for the sixth time in the last two ball games. Manziel got one first down but the Bulldog defense stood tall with a big pass break up from Taveze Calhoun on a bomb down the field to Mike Evans and a sack on third down from Benardrick McKinney. The Bulldogs took over at the A&M 35 after a facemask penalty.

The Bulldogs would finally capitalize as Prescott started the drive with a nine yard draw play on the run. A couple of plays later, Perkins bounced off a tackler and carried the ball down to the two yard line. On second and goal from the three, Prescott drew the defense to him and hit Wilson for the jump pass and six points. MSU got back within two points 16-14 with 56 seconds remaining in the half.

56 seconds was too much time for Manziel as he went four plays and 75-yards down the field with ease. The Bulldogs showed no defensive threat on the last drive and A&M looked to take over for good as they took the 23-14 lead at the half.

Manziel destroyed the secondary for the most part in the first half throwing 18-22 for 232 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. He also rushed for 46 yards giving him 278 of the team's 294 yards of offense. MSU was outgained 294-191 in the first but out-rushed the Aggies, 132-61.

The Bulldogs began the second half strong defensively with a stop at the line on the runner and then a big sack from junior defensive tackle P.J. Jones for a loss of 10. Manziel's third down pass was incomplete and MSU got a quick three and out but a roughing the punter gave an automatic first down. Manziel wouldn't make them pay as two plays later, Love got interception number two on the day. The Bulldogs were in business at the A&M 44.

Prescott hit Wilson for 17 yards down to the 27 for the first down, but the Bulldogs couldn't get anything on first and second before Prescott took a draw play for 12 yards and a third down converted. MSU then saw the drive stall thanks to a holding call on right guard Ben Beckwith on second down. Evan Sobiesk then saw his field goal blocked and the Bulldogs got nothing out of it.

Manziel took over and completed two-straight big pass plays and a third and two and finished the drive off with a 21-yard pass from Manziel to Kennedy for the second time of the day. It was the fourth touchdown pass by Manziel and A&M took the 30-14 lead with 7:34 left in the third.

The Bulldogs got nothing on their next possession with a three and out and A&M would try to seal the game on the next possession. Manziel converted an incredible third and 24 on a scramble and throw, but a play later he threw an interception to Nickoe Whitley inside the 10 . It was the fourth interception of the year for Whitley and the 14th of his career which is good for third place in MSU history and two away from tying the all-time record.

Prescott immediately went to work with a 14 and 13-yard run. He would hit freshman receiver Fred Brown twice, both for 19 yards and would hit pay dirt with his second touchdown pass of the day. Perkins hauled in the pass on the wheel route for 12 yards and a touchdown. MSU went for two and were denied, but the Bulldogs got back in it with a 30-20 ball game on a 96-yard drive. It was the longest drive of the season and there were 44 seconds left in the third.

Quickly, A&M put the dagger in the Bulldogs with a 75-yard pass to Mike Evans down to the 15. On the next play, they were in the endzone on the next play with a 15-yard touchdown by Trey Williams. The Aggies took the 37-20 lead with 12 seconds left in the third quarter.

Prescott came right back with a 44-yard run on the first play of the drive getting the ball inside Aggie territory to end the third quarter. The rush put him over 100 yards on the ground for the fourth time this season. The Bulldogs began the final quarter with another quick touchdown as Jameon Lewis hit Joe Morrow for a 31-yard touchdown pass. It was the third pass of the season from Lewis, all going for touchdowns. It was also Morrow's first touchdown reception of his career. MSU again got within 10 at 37-27 with 14:53 remaining.

A&M kept the shootout going as Williams brought the ball out of the endzone and took it to the house. A dive into the endzone called it back for a penalty and A&M took the ball at the 18. It didn't take long for the Aggies to get the touchdown back as they scored on three plays with a three-yard pass from Manziel to Nehemiah Hicks, his fifth of the night. A&M went back up by 17, 44-27, with 13:54 left in the game.

Finally, a stop was made as Prescott made his first big mistake of the day with an interception thrown. It was his fourth in the last two games in the first turnover of the day for MSU. The MSU defense would stiffen a bit, but Manziel would eventually finish off the drive with a touchdown from two yards out. A&M took their largest lead of the game at 24 with a 51-27 score and still 10:52 left.

MSU didn't give up. Prescott started the drive at the 25 and used a fourth down pass to Wilson for 24 yards and an 18-yard run by himself down to the one before Perkins carried the ball into the endzone. Prescott scored the two-point conversion and the Bulldogs got the score to get it to 51-35 with 6:45 left in the game.

MSU got a stop on the next possession with a three and out and took over around midfield. Prescott carried the ball up the middle for 13 yards followed by two rushes by Perkins for 11 getting the ball down to the Aggie 34. Prescott then got a 12-yard run and a play later a facemask on Perkins got the Bulldogs all the way inside the 10. Prescott took a hard shot on the play and Russell was inserted in the game. Two plays later, he threw a jump ball touchdown to Wilson. It was Wilson's second of the night and the Bulldogs got it to 10 with 2:19 remaining.

MSU went for the onside kick that scooted around, but it fell into the hands of the Aggies and they would run the clock out. The Bulldogs fought valiantly until the end but fell 51-41. MSU's 21 points in the fourth quarter were the most in the Dan Mullen era.

Prescott's 304 yards led the way as he passed for 149 on 14-26 with two touchdowns and an interception. He also rushed 16 times for 155 yards, a career high. Wilson led the way with a career ball game catching seven passes for 75 yards and two touchdowns. Linebackers Wells and McKinney led the team with six tackles. Love had two interceptions with Whitley hauling in one.

MSU also set a single-game record for yards in an SEC game under Mullen with 533 yards of total offense. It was the most points scored by MSU in a losing effort in school history.

The Bulldogs now get ready for the nation's #1 team as Alabama comes to town next week.


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