FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Dominique Johnson scored the go-ahead touchdown from four yards with 21 seconds left and Arkansas rallied to beat Mississippi State, 31-28.
The Bulldogs (5-4, 3-3 in SEC) had an opportunity to tie the game with two seconds left, but kicker Nolan McCord missed a 40-yard try, giving Arkansas the win. McCord took the kick after Mississippi State’s first-string kicker Brandon Ruiz missed his first two of the game, including one from 23 yards.
The win makes Arkansas (6-3, 2-3) bowl-eligible, under non-COVID qualifications, for the first time since 2016 and gives the Razorbacks their second win this season over a team ranked inside the College Football Playoff top 25.
The Razorbacks, trailing 28-23 with one minute left, appeared to have lost when KJ Jefferson’s pass into the flat on fourth down from the Mississippi State 25 fell incomplete. However, the Bulldogs were called for holding, Arkansas moved up to the 15 and two plays later, Johnson scored.
Mississippi State had twice come back from two scores down to take the lead. The last of which came on the series before, when Will Rogers found Jo’quavious Marks for a 15-yard score with 2:22 left. Jefferson and the Razorbacks went 75 yards on 10 plays in 2:01 on the game-winning drive.
Johnson, who began the year as the fourth-string running back, made his first start of the season and ran for 107 yards on 17 carries with two touchdowns.
Jefferson had his most efficient game of the season, completing 19 of 23 passes for 191 yards and a touchdown. Treylon Burks, who entered as the SEC’s leader in yards receiving, caught six passes for 82 yards and a touchdown.
Arkansas snapped a three-game SEC losing streak and could re-enter the Top 25. The Razorbacks’ win ensures their first .500-or-better regular season since 2016.
Mississippi State, which was ranked No. 17 in the initial College Football Playoff rankings this week, lost to Arkansas for the second straight season.
Arkansas travels next week to play LSU in Baton Rouge, where the Razorbacks have won just three times since joining the SEC in 1992, the last of which came in 2015.
Mississippi State travels to Auburn.