STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) – South Alabama pulled off the first major upset of the college football season, holding off Mississippi State 21-20 Saturday when Westin Graves’ 28-yard field goal try smacked off the upright in the final seconds.
A four-touchdown underdog, the Jaguars beat an SEC team for the first time in school history.
Down 17-0 at halftime and still trailing 20-7 in the fourth quarter, South Alabama rallied to take the lead on Dallas Davis’ 4-yard TD pass to Gerald Everett with 57 seconds left.
Mississippi State immediately drove down the field and got in position for a field goal. But Graves’ kick hit the left post and fell harmlessly to the turf at a stunned Davis Wade Stadium.
Most of the Mississippi State fans had long gone home on a hot afternoon and all that was left was a screaming contingent of a few hundred South Alabama fans.
Two days after Appalachian State almost toppled No. 9 Tennessee before losing in overtime, South Alabama kicked off a season that follows a year full of wild endings.
Davis threw for 285 yards and two touchdowns.
Damian Williams finished with 143 yards passing and 93 yards rushing, including several impressive plays on the final drive for the Bulldogs.
South Alabama: It’s a massive win for the Jaguars, who play in the Sun Belt Conference. South Alabama lost badly to Mississippi State in both 2012 and 2014, and was 0-4 against SEC opponents.
Mississippi State: This is undeniably a crushing loss for the Bulldogs. It also calls into question just how much Mississippi State will have in the post-Dak Prescott era.
South Alabama: The Jaguars host Georgia Southern next Saturday in their first Sun Belt game of the season.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs host South Carolina next Saturday in their first SEC game of the season.