Arkansas beats No. 16 Mississippi St. for first SEC win since ’17
Joe Foucha accounted for two of Arkansas’ three interceptions of K.J. Costello, and the Razorbacks stymied the No. 16-ranked Mississippi State offense Saturday en route to Arkansas’ first SEC win in almost three years, 21-14 at Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville, Miss.
Arkansas (1-1, 1-1 SEC) opened under first-year coach Sam Pittman with an impressive first half last Saturday against Georgia — leading 7-5 at the half — but ran out of steam in the second and fell to the fourth-ranked Bulldogs 37-10.
Against another Bulldogs squad — one that kicked off 2020 with a record-setting defeat of reigning national champion LSU — the Razorbacks put together two excellent defensive halves to pick up their first conference win since beating Ole Miss on Oct. 28, 2017.
Key to the Arkansas defense were the three interceptions of Costello, who a week earlier set the SEC single-game passing record with 623 yards.
His 36 completions at LSU set a program record Costello again topped on Saturday, going 43 of 59 for 313 yards. He found JaVonta Payton on a 17-yard touchdown pass to make it 7-7 in the first quarter, but that was his only scoring pass of the day.
Instead, the turnovers proved costly for the Bulldogs. Foucha’s two picks both came in Arkansas territory. So, too, did Greg Brooks Jr.’s on the game’s first drive, which he returned 69 yards for a touchdown, setting the tone for the rest of the way.
Arkansas never trailed, and extended its advantage to two scores in the third quarter on the second of quarterback Feleipe Franks’ two touchdown passes. Franks found De’Vion Warren for a 19-yard score in the second quarter, and Hudson Henry from 12 yards for what proved to be the game winner in the third.
Franks went 20 of 28 for 212 yards with the two scores and no interceptions. Warren caught four passes for a game-high 100 yards.
Mississippi State (1-1, 1-1) pulled within a score on Dillon Johnson’s six-yard touchdown run with 3:50 left in the third quarter. The Bulldogs threatened to score the equalizer twice in the fourth quarter, first taking over deep in Arkansas territory when Aaron Brule recovered a Warren fumble.
The Razorbacks snuffed out the ensuing possession with a fourth-down stop at the 13-yard line, then replicated the feat on fourth-and-2 at the 7-yard line on the Bulldogs’ following drive.
–Field Level Media