ATHENS, Ga. • Freshman receiver Jaden Walley played the best game of his young career on Saturday night.
Walley, who earned his third consecutive start, finished the game with a career highs in both receptions and yards. He had seven catches for 115 yards and one touchdown.
His biggest play came in the second quarter. He caught a pass from quarterback Will Rogers across the middle and streaked 51 yards up the right side of the field for his first career touchdown and put Mississippi State up 17-10.
“First, I recognized man coverage and I waited on Austin (Williams),” Walley said of his score. “I cut off him and the ball was there. I just caught it and used what God gave me to get in the end zone.”
He is the first Mississippi State receiver to have a 100-yard receiving game since three players did so against LSU in the first game of the season.
Key Number – 2
Mississippi State’s offensive line gave up only two sacks in the game. They came, however, at the worst possible time for the Bulldogs. Down 31-24, Rogers was sacked on third down to force a punt late in the fourth quarter.
Then on Mississippi State’s last drive, Rogers was sacked on fourth down for a turnover on downs.
Georgia quarterback JT Daniels was hitting deep passes all night long, and his last one in the fourth quarter was the game changer. Georgia receivers dropped back-to-back passes in the end zone, then the Bulldogs were pushed back on a holding call.
On third and 20 at the 40-yard line, he threw for the end zone again and hit Kearis Jackson for a 40-yard touchdown to put Georgia up for good, 31-24.
Mississippi State (2-5) will travel to Oxford to face Ole Miss (3-4) in the annual Egg Bowl at 3 p.m. on Saturday. Ole Miss did not play this weekend.
“I thought it was a really good effort and I think that this was the best game we have played this year. I was really proud of the way our guys played. I wish we hadn’t come up short, but I was really proud of them,” head coach Mike Leach said.
Twenty newcomers have touched the field for Mississippi State this season, which is the most such players among any Power Five school. … Mississippi State’s top four tacklers in the game were all members of the secondary. … Mississippi State’s run defense held Georgia to eight rushing yards on 23 carries, which averages out to 0.3 yards per carry.