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Mississippi State Upsets Texas A&M to Earn Academy’s Game of the Week Honor

Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald led the Bulldogs to a 35-28 upset of Texas A&M on Saturday. The Bulldogs will play in the St. Pete Bowl on Dec. 26 against Miami (Ohio). Photo: Matt Bush/USA Today Sports

The Mississippi State Bulldogs put together a 14-play, 73-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter to finish off a 35-28 upset win over No. 7 Texas A&M on Saturday. The victory shook up the College Football Playoff rankings and earned the Bulldogs the United States Sports Academy’s College Football Game of the Week award.

Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald capped the fourth quarter drive with a 4-yard touchdown run to give the Bulldogs (4-5, 2-3 Southeastern Conference) an insurmountable 35-21 lead with 3:08 left in the game. It was Fitzgerald’s second touchdown run of the game, having already scored on a 74-yard run early in the first quarter. The sophomore also contributed two touchdown passes to knock off the Aggies (7-2, 4-2), who had been ranked fourth in the initial College Football Playoff poll released last week.

The Bulldogs led 28-14 to start the fourth quarter, before Texas A&M quarterback Jake Hubenak – playing in relief of injured starter Trevor Knight – connected with Christian Kirk for a 54-yard touchdown pass to pull the Aggies within seven points at 28-21.

Mississippi State’s fourth quarter touchdown drive took more than seven minutes off the clock and put the game out of reach for the Aggies, who scored with 1:33 left to play to make the score 35-28 but could not come back.

A blue ribbon panel of 17 members consisting of former college football coaches and athletic directors and including Academy faculty selects the weekly winner of the Academy’s College Football Game of the Week Award by ballot. The committee is chaired by former U.S. Naval Academy athletic director Jack Lengyel. At the conclusion of the college football season, the panel selects the Academy’s College Football Game of the Year.

The College Football Game of the Year Award is part of the Academy’s Awards of Sport series, a function of the American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA), which was established as “a tribute to the artist and the athlete.”

Each year at the conclusion of the college football season painter Daniel Moore, the ASAMA 2005 Sport Artist of the Year, is commissioned by the Academy to render a painting depicting a memorable and pivotal moment to commemorate the selected College Football Game of the Year. In addition, the Academy contributes $5,000 to the winning university’s scholarship fund.

Fans are encouraged to follow the Academy’s Game of the Year process and compare their selected games of the week to the committee’s selection.

Based in Daphne, Ala., the United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research, and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, call (251) 626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu .

Founded in 1984, ASAMA is dedicated to the preservation of sports art, history, and literature. The ASAMA collection is composed of nearly 2,000 works of sport art across a variety of media, including paintings, sculptures, assemblages, prints and photographs. The museum is open free to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. For more information, go to www.asama.org.

By Eric Mann

Eric Mann is the Communications Assistant at the United States Sports Academy. Reach him at emann@ussa.edu

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