Sept 14, 2003
By BRETT MARTEL
AP Sports Writer
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - J.P. Losman threw for 349 yards and four touchdowns as Tulane overcame a 14-point, fourth-quarter deficit to beat Mississippi State 31-28 on Saturday night.
Barrett Pepper, who had missed a short field goal earlier, drilled a 32-yarder with 6 seconds remaining to win it. The drive began when Tulane recovered an MSU fumble at midfield on a play when it was tough to tell whether Bulldogs receiver Justin Jenkins had established possession before being hit.
It was the first time Tulane (2-1) has beaten Mississippi State (0-2) since 1988, and the Green Wave had come in on a 24-game losing streak against Southeastern Conference teams.
Mewelde Moore ran for 92 yards for Tulane to become the leading rusher in Conference USA history. The senior, has 3,683 yards, eclipsing the mark of 3,636 set by Ketric Sanford of Houston in 1999.
Mississippi State held a 28-14 lead with 14:11 left after Kevin Fant hit Jenkins down the sidelines for a 70-yard touchdown play. The score capped 16-minute stretch of dominance by the Bulldogs that included more than 100 rushing yards and two other touchdowns.
But Tulane's defense regrouped to stop three straight MSU drives while Losman led the Green Wave on touchdown drives of 89 and 41 yards in the last 7 minutes.
Bush finished with 107 yards and two TDs on only four receptions. Roydell
Williams did not score but led Tulane's receiving corps with 10 catches for 114
Nick Turner ran for 155 yards - 138 in the second half - and scored once on a 15-yard run around the left end as MSU appeared to take over the game.
Kevin Fant also overcame a slow start, hitting 16 of 32 passes for 246 yards and two TDs, both to Jenkins. But MSU struggled with penalties, committing 14 for 121 yards. MSU also fumbled the ball away three times, while Tulane had no turnovers.
Brent Smith had field goals 31 and 22 yards for MSU's only first-half points. Tulane had a 7-6 lead at halftime on a 9-yard fade from Losman to Tristan Smith.
Mississippi State coach Jackie Sherrill, who overhauled his staff over the summer, is 6-19 since 2001, the worst stretch in his 26 seasons as a head coach.