January 1, 2013

Four interceptions cost MSU Gator Bowl

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., - Mississippi State was able to overcome Tyler Russell's three first half interceptions.

But his fourth in the final quarter put an end to the Bulldogs five-game bowl winning streak as Northwestern claimed a 34-20 victory on the Gator Bowl on Tuesday.

"We made a lot of big mistakes," said MSU head coach Dan Mullen. "When that stuff happens you get out of sync. I think our first five possessions were two three-and-outs and three interceptions. That's not a real fast start to a game that we're looking for. But I do give our guys credit because they were focused in. They continued to battle back. They put themselves back in position and made a couple of mistakes at the very end to define and end the game."

MSU fell behind 13-0 early but managed to tie the score by their first drive of the third quarter despite three turnovers in the opening half. The Bulldogs were trailing by a touchdown when Russell heaved up his fourth pick of the afternoon which was returned down to the 10-yard line setting up Northwestern's final score.

"Just a poor decision on third down," Mullen said of the play. "Instead of sliding around in the pocket he just threw a ball that he shouldn't have thrown."

The Wildcats cashed three of the interceptions into 17 points and the other held MSU from scoring on first down at the 15-yard line.

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