Bulldogs win in ugly fashion
MEMPHIS - It wasn't pretty by any means. But then again, Mississippi State wasn't looking for style points.
And not many of the other kind of points for that matter, either.
In front of a record crowd of 63,816 on Saturday afternoon, Anthony Dixon scored from the 1 with 1:54 left to give the Bulldogs a 10-3 victory.
It was the lone offensive highlight of the day for either team.
Just how ugly were both offenses?
State, which finished the year 8-5, totaled just 199 yards, while the Knights (10-4) mustered 219. Both struggled in the passing game, but did have some success on the ground.
"That's just being us," a relieved MSU coach Sylvester Croom said. "We kept it close going into the fourth quarter and found a way to win."
UCF finished with 131 rushing yards, led by Kevin Smith's 119. MSU totaled 160 and got 86 from Dixon.
But the two quarterbacks - Wesley Carroll and Kyle Israel - threw for less than 90 yards. Carroll (8 of 18 for 39 yards) also threw an intereption, while Israel (10 of 24 for 88 yards) had three.
"Both defenses played well," UCF coach George O'Leary said. "Both offenses need to go back to the drawing boards."
Derek Pegues, who was named the game's MVP, had two of the picks for the Bulldogs, while Keith Fitzhugh had the other.
State also caught a break with UCF placekicker Michael Torres missing twice from 37 and 32 yards, respectively. Entering the game, he was 19 of 21 and had made 16 in a row.
"He makes those two and it's a whole different game," Croom said.