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Mississippi State rallies, wins in OT

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 1, 2001


SHREVEPORT, La. -- Wayne Madkin scored on a 6-yard scramble to give Mississippi State a 43-41 overtime victory over Texas A&M on Sunday night in the snowy Independence Bowl.

Ja'Mar Toombs ran for a 25-yard touchdown on the Aggies' first play of overtime for a 41-35 lead, but Terence Kitchen's extra-point attempt was blocked by Willie Blade.

Eugene Clinton scooped the blocked kick out of the snow and before he could be pulled down at midfield, he flipped the ball to Julius Griffith who scored for a 2-point defensive conversion.

It was the first meeting between Texas A&M and Mississippi State since former Aggies coach Jackie Sherrill took over the Bulldogs in 1991.

The pregame hype revolved around Sherrill, who coached the Aggies from 1982-88, and Texas A&M coach R.C. Slocum, a former assistant who took over for Sherrill in 1989.

But the game was dominated by the running of Toombs and Mississippi State's Dontae Walker and a rare Southern snowfall that covered the field.

Toombs ran for 193 yards and three touchdowns on 35 carries. Walker matched Toombs with three touchdowns, along with 143 yards on 16 carries.

Mississippi State rallied from 14 points down with two touchdowns in the final 8:16 of the fourth quarter.

An interception by Marco Minor deep in Texas A&M territory gave the Bulldogs a first-and-goal at the Aggies' 4 with 2:50 left trailing 35-28.

On third down, Madkin faked a handoff and found Donald Lee alone in the snow-covered end zone for a 3-yard touchdown to tie it with 1:30 left.

Madkin's winning touchdown came on a similar play-action pass on second and goal at the 7.

Toombs was especially effective early, running for 73 yards and a touchdown on Texas A&M's first two series, and helping the Aggies take a 14-0 lead.

Mississippi State slowed Toombs in the second and third quarters, but the 255-pound fullback got rumbling again in the fourth quarter. His 13-yard TD run with 9:20 left gave the Aggies a 35-21 lead.

Walker scored his third touchdown on a 32-yard run on the ensuing Mississippi State drive to cut the lead to 35-28 at 8:17.

The game started with the synthetic grass field a mix of green and white. By the second quarter, the turf was blanketed by snow. Plows were used during timeouts to make the goal lines, end lines and hash marks visible.

Snow fell throughout the game, at times coming down so hard it made watching the game like looking through television static. Many of the 36,974 fans at Independence Stadium left at halftime.

Because both schools wear maroon and white, Mississippi State, the designated road team, wore white jerseys, pants and helmets. It was the first time the Bulldogs wore all white since 1970.

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